Music / “Llewellyn Series” concert one, Canberra Symphony Orchestra. At Llewellyn Hall, Wednesday, February 21. Reviewed by IAN McLEAN
IF you stay in Canberra long enough, everything will come to you. And so it is with Crazy Horse Paris. Since it was established by Alain Bernardin in 1951, the tiny Crazy Horse Paris cabaret has established itself as a “must see” attraction for tourists visiting Paris.
Along with the Moulin Rouge and the Lido, the Crazy Horse Paris became famous for its revues glorifying the female form, but unlike those latter two establishments, instead of costuming their dancers in spectacular feathers and sequin creations, those at The Crazy Horse wear very little except artful lighting. As well as its innovative use of lighting, the Crazy Horse also developed a very specific choreographic style in which every move is designed to display the feminine form to perfection, requiring all its dancers to have classical dance training and meet stringent physical criteria.
Many of these routines have become classics. Some have remained in the repertoire since the Crazy Horse was established and are included in this “best-of” production, which is making its first tour of Australia.
Among them, the opening routine “God Save Our Bareskin”, which was choreographed by a British Army lieutenant and has opened every Crazy Horse Paris show since 1989. This iconic routine has the dancers, barely clad in saucy parodies of the Grenadier Guard’s uniforms, complete with bearskin hats and sporrans.
“Upside Down” uses legs, mirrors, and red Christian Louboutin shoes to create sensuous kaleidoscopic images that confuse and delight the eye. “Glamazones” has the dancers wearing swishing horse tails and little else to pay homage to its namesake.
Among the solos, “Good Girl”, featuring energetic high-kicks executed by a dancer wearing little more than beads and the erotic “Rugir De Desur”, performed mostly in silhouette, were particularly memorable for the originality of their presentation.
Group routines and solos follow each other quick succession, all performed on a tiny stage, the exact proportions of that at the Crazy Horse Paris. This allows the routines to be presented exactly as conceived. On each side of this stage, two huge led screens show close-ups of the routines being performed. First impression is that the dance is being filmed in real time, however when the image of a different performer is shown simultaneously, the accuracy with which the live performer is executing the choreography is revealed. While this effect is both intriguing and distracting, it certainly adds to the overall spectacle.
Yes, there is a male performer included. Dancer Robert Muraine, billed as “Mr Fantastic”, whose contribution is truly original and amazing.
But the focus of “Forever Crazy” is the female form and the artistry with which it is displayed in this production reveals why, for 65 years, tourists have travelled around the world to experience the shows at the tiny Parisian establishment devoted entirely to perfecting this art form. You can save yourself a fortune by grabbing the opportunity to see it at the Canberra Theatre.