Revue / “Cabaret de Paris”. At The Playhouse until June 16. Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.
CLASSIC French revue is the ultimate fantasy, usually showcasing a legendary cabaret star, surrounded by teams of gorgeous dancers who parade in extravagant costumes designed to glorify the female form while covering as little as possible, punctuated by clever specialty acts the main function of which is to keep the audience entertained while the dancers change.
Michael Boyd is an internationally renowned illusionist who is also a producer and entrepreneur. Boyd has been bringing French-style revues to Canberra for some years, but “Cabaret de Paris” is his crowning achievement yet.
To showcase Australia’s best known and admired showgirl, Rhonda Burchmore, Boyd has gathered an extraordinary team of skilled dancers in Courtney Casaceli, Jessica Evans, Rhylee Pin, Katarina Rasenberger, Mikaela Schreuder, Elysha Atwell, Georgia Lacey, Tyrone Anthony and Jack Evans. All have performed in Paris in either the famed Moulin Rouge or the Paris Lido, and it shows.
All have mastered the unique style and carriage of the French cabaret showgirl, performing Matt Browning’s intricate routines with elegance and admirable precision, whether displaying an endless succession of extravagant feathered and bejewelled creations or tearing up the stage in the most energetic can can to be seen outside Paris.
In the true French cabaret tradition, to give his dancers time to change, Boyd himself thrills with his remarkable illusions, which involve slicing beautiful assistants into pieces, then putting them together again, disappearing and reappearing from locked trunks, executing puzzling feats of levitation, all with his trademark style and panache.
There’s also a remarkable contortionist, Veronica Waite, who amazes with her ability to twist her body into impossible positions, and exhibiting remarkable strength and ingenuity with her stunning pole dancing routine.
But central to the show is Australia’s most revered showgirl, Rhonda Burchmore, who fresh from a national tour in the musical, “Hairspray”, and winning the hearts of the nation as a gritty contestant in the television series “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here”, returns to what she knows best; captivating her audience by strutting her stuff singing her heart out and telling gags, while costumed in glamorous gowns, and flirting with handsome male dancers.
“Cabaret de Paris” with its excellent production values encompassing imaginative lighting, excellent sound and stylish, finely honed performances not only successfully captures the true essence of classic French cabaret, but is probably among one of the best examples of this genre you’ll likely to see outside Paris.
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