By Eric Scott
Cabaret de Paris
Choreography by Todd Patrick
Tour has finished. Seen at the QPAC Playhouse on February 27, 2021
You don’t get more Parisienne than a cabaret filed with fabulous showgirls: the perfectly proportioned dancers who move with grace, energy and precision, dress in saucy leotards covered with sequins and wear exotic headdresses piled with feathers. I got my taste for the genre, like so many others, with Feerie at the legendary Moulin Rouge in Paris and it was nice to have my memory refreshed with the delightful Cabaret de Paris.
Pundits say showgirls will always be a box office draw and they were proved right with this one. The three performance season just about sold out the Playhouse theatre. It was packed to the rafters when I saw the show on its final night. It was 90 minutes of pure enjoyment both visually and with content. It was a truly classy production and the audience clapped and cheered throughout. They had a ball.
The costuming was stunning and the seven female and two male dancers were in perfect time whatever style of dance they performed. Those showgirls have all performed the stages of Moulin Rouge, The Lido and other French cabaret revues. There were a pair of topless dancers, but it would take a demented prude to make any objection. Good taste was evident all through the show.
The first act ended with a couple of frenzied Can Can dances, first an upbeat modern version to Jimmy Kennedy’s adaptation, The Can Can Polka, and then the dancers slipped seamlessly into the original, the galop from Offenbach’s operetta Orpheus in the Underworld.
The music was varied from French classics to modern tunes like ABBA’s Voulez Vous and Art Vs Science’s Parlez-vous francais. Leading the vocals was the show’s star, former Moulin Rouge lead dancer, Marissa Burgess (pictured) who starred in three multi-million dollar revues; Femmes, Femmes, Femmes, Formidable and Feerie to become the longest serving star in the Moulin Rouge's 120-year history.
The Aussie girl from Newcastle headed to France at 17 to dance at Le Moulin Rouge where she performed as a lead for a record 16 years. She may be an Aussie, but her French diction is impeccable as she proved with her medley of Edith Piaf songs.
But it was not all dancers and feathers. There was also magic and circus acts.
Finalist from Australia’s Got Talent, illusionist Michael Boyd baffled the audience – including me - with his box of tricks. His disappearing acts and levitation were spectacular. We know it is just illusion, but it still left me wondering how the hell he did it.
The act that really stunned me though was a contortion display by Zaryna Martisevich. Too often contortion acts are quite unpleasant to watch, but this one was beauty combined with strength. I have seen a performer do a sideways splits and then stand upright using sheer strength. Her muscle and body control was incredible. Nicole Harbour on the pole was just as impressive with control and strength.
All in all Cabaret de Paris is the perfect, tasteful antidote to Covid 19. If it comes your way don’t hesitate to get tickets.