Cirque Voltaire and The Widow’s Bane rock the Oriental Theater

Credits: Jess d’Arbonne

Cirque Voltaire and The Widow’s Bane rock the Oriental Theater

Take some acrobats, aerial dancers, and stilt walkers. Now throw in some metal sculptures and psychedelic artwork. Now toss in zombies, live music, burlesque, and a gothic World War II theme. What you’ll get is the greatest show on Earth––and definitely the most fascinating performance in Denver––in the form of Cirque Voltaire.

On Friday night the curious and the colorful converged on the Oriental Theater in the Denver Highlands for this unique performance by Cirque Voltaire and everyone’s favorite local zombie feel-good band, The Widow’s Bane.

The evening started with art installations both inside and out of the Oriental. The artists were there to talk about their work and hawk their wares. Then the circus took the stage for an all-encompassing artistic experience.

From the costumes to the live music, Cirque Voltaire is not your granny’s circus troupe. With a gothic flair and more than a little social commentary, the troupe seamlessly mixed acrobatics, burlesque dancing, stilt walking, and human marionettes to tell a story of creativity and the freedom of the human spirit rising above oppression and the threat of boredom and dreariness. It was, in a word, fascinating.

And lest you think this was simply a show to watch quietly in your seat, the performers actually encouraged the audience to play along. And play along they did, booing when the bad guys were bad, and cheering when the circus won the day.

Then The Widow’s Bane took the stage. How does one describe this band? “Zombie pirate death polka” is how they would describe themselves, but even that eclectic terminology doesn’t begin to encompass the creativity, the addictiveness, and the wicked good fun that is The Widow’s Bane.

The band members have taken on the personas of 200-year-old cursed zombies, and rarely appear in public out of character. Their songs encompass cheerful subjects like death, betrayal, maiming, love lost, black magic, and the evils of the fairer sex. Their rioting roots music sound is paired with ridiculously catchy lyrics like these from their latest creation:

Don’t be afraid. It’s only death. It’s just as natural as your first breath. Life’s a bitch and then you die. Hell’s a myth and Heaven’s just a lie.

Being circus performers, the Cirque Voltaire troupe stuck around to lead the audience in dancing to The Widow’s Bane. When all was said and done, the Cirque Voltaire performance was a unique and exciting way to spend a Friday night. Here’s hoping this quirky little circus troupe sticks around to bring more of their unique brand of entertainment to the Mile High City.

Stay informed, stay alive: Visit The Widow’s Bane’s website to listen to tracks, buy their CD, and find out where they’re playing next. Check out Cirque Voltaire on Facebook to find out where the mad troupe is performing next.

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