The Unbelievables: blink and you’ll miss the costume changes
Husband and wife Sos and Victoria. Picture: Hollie Adams


Sos and Victoria, a married couple from Germany, hold an unlikely record that redefines the concept of fast fashion. Both cabaret performers, have won Guinness world records in the rarefied field of high-speed costume change.

As part of a new variety show, The Unbelievables, which opens at the Sydney Opera House tonight, the Petrosyans swap through 15 costumes in two minutes.

“In the blink of an eye,” says producer Simon Painter, “there could be a change from red ballroom gown to white feather dress.”

The Unbelievables comes from the company that masterminded The Illusionists and Circus 1903, and has cast its net wide to put on a show straddling most genres in live entertainment.

The highest aerial act to take place in the Concert Hall sees Artem Lyuban put on a display of acrobatic prowess while suspended above the audience at 6m.

Shin Lim, a sleight-of-hand artist with almost 80 million hits on YouTube, a Mexican speed-juggler, elite ballroom dancers and a Tony award-winning ventriloquist also feature on this impressively diverse bill.

The Unbelievables is a smorgasbord of every genre in entertainment,” Painter says. “From music to magic, to circus, to dance and variety, we’ve cherry-picked the best of the best performers in those categories.”

The quest to source fewer than 20 performers from a 5000-strong talent pool was finalised one month ago after the company spent more than a year whittling down the numbers. “We spend a lot of our life auditioning and finding acts, and so the process is always lengthy but also very satisfying. We have a really strong cast for this. We keep getting better at finding the most extraordinary people, who can do extraordinary things.”

The entertainers hail from 15 countries and have had two weeks to rehearse together and just three days to fit the production into the Sydney venue.

Painter is in his own time zone after a busy week overseeing production openings in Los Angeles, London, Madrid, Istanbul, Beijing, Tamworth, and now Sydney. He says the show thrives on growing demand for live entertainment in a digital world.

“Everybody has access to entertainment so rapidly, it has made these very-large-scale spectacles much more attractive,” he says. “Seeing something live has become the last uncopyable and non-downloadable experience. When you actually see someone risking their life, live, or see some amazing feat in front of you, these days it holds a lot more power.”

The Unbelievables opens tonight at the Sydney Opera House and runs until December 29 before traveling to Arts Centre Melbourne, then touring globally.