This touring Australian show certainly puts on the glitz.
It starts with a disco ball and scarlet-costumed, high-kicking showgirls, then goes on to deliver a two-hour razzle-dazzle performance bursting with burlesque, feathers, sequins, rhinestones, stilettos and oh-so-high kicks.
Star of the show is Australian-born showgirl Marissa Burgess, hailed as the longest-serving star at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, who sings a number of sultry French numbers, as well as dancing and introducing elements of the performance.
There’s a strong emphasis on the show’s French connection, which feels slightly over-egged, as does the promise that audiences will be wowed by the magic and glamour of Paris’s cabaret scene. Better, perhaps, just to let the action unfold, because the choreography (by Adelaide-born Todd Patrick) and the dancing are super slick, and the lavish but barely-there costumes speak for themselves.
There’s pole dancing, cartwheels, aerial routines, high kicks, lifts, tumbles and, of course, the can-can, all performed by a talented cast to an eclectic soundtrack with a mostly French flavour, including songs such as “I Love Paris”, “Whatever Lola Wants”, “Can Can Polka” and Abba’s “Voulez-Vous”. The sauciness and partial nudity that is an essential part of the show won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s pretty tame by today’s Miley Cyrus Wrecking Ball standards.
A highlight of the night was the most contemporary number of the show – a fun, energetic dance performed to electronic band Art Vs Science’s catchy “Parlez Vous Francais”. Hitting a very different note, but equally captivating, was the quick-change duet by Angela and Cyriaque Kinkingnehun, described as the former Adagio couple from Paris’s The Lido.
In between the dance was a magic display by Australia’s Got Talent finalist Michael Boyd, which promised more than it delivered, and an impressive performance by comic acrobatic cyclist Justin Case, who drew the heartiest applause of the night for his sharp wit and dexterity atop what is possibly the world’s smallest bicycle.
For this reviewer, the downfall of Cabaret de Paris is that it takes itself a little too seriously, and that won’t necessarily hit the spot for cabaret fans accustomed to the cheeky irreverence and noir style of many contemporary Australian burlesque shows. But it does deliver what it promises – a fun, old-fashioned, glamorous burlesque extravaganza.
Cabaret de Paris was presented at Her Majesty’s Theatre on Saturday and Sunday nights. The Adelaide season has now finished.
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