After touring Australia over the past three years to sold out houses, The Paris Underground Cabaret is heading to South Australia.
A subversion of the classic French cabaret and variety show, this production brings together a diverse range of performers; magicians, dancers, singers, circus and burlesque artists, including the magic of Madotti & Vegas, the beauty and grace of aerialist, dancer and circus artist Hannah Trott; the rare skill of tap-dance king Monsieur Eden Read; the dangerously charming and risqué repartee of chanteuse Aurora Kurth and international burlesque artiste, dancer and showgirl, Mimi Le Noir!
With dates in Mount Gambier, Barossa and Port Pirie, producer Richard Vegas says the company love taking a touch of cosmopolitan to the country.
“This is one of the reasons that we do tour remotely and regionally; to give audiences in those areas access to the experiences that are available generally only in the metropolitan centres of Australia,” he says.
“It is very rewarding and gratifying to be able to perform a show that is so gratefully received. I personally hope, and I have been told, that our production brings something special and rare to audiences who do not have the opportunity to see such things and so are inspired by what we bring to them.
“One anecdote from our time on the road is that we had an older man – he was over 80, by his own admission – in remote country Australia come up to us after the show and say that he had never seen a burlesque striptease performed in his life and he was so happy that he finally had the experience!”
Having toured for three years, Richard says they have had a lot of wonderful experiences like that one from all the unique places they’ve visited.
“We have been so fortunate to go to some amazingly beautiful places and to meet, perform for and work with fantastic people in far flung regional communities throughout Australia but, the highlight has to be when we headlined the Red Earth Arts Festival in Karratha in WA in 2017,” he says. “
The show was set up and staged in the heritage ghost town of Cossack with an outdoor stage, under the stars, with cabaret seating tables and dinner for 300 people over two nights! It was a brilliant experience for everyone who attended and we had a ball performing the show there and in that setting.”
The Paris Underground Cabaret contains a lot of exciting circus elements but it’s the unique theatricality that makes it stand out from other such shows.
“We have always placed the performances within a highly theatrical setting, in particular, the circus elements of the show,” Richard says. In Paris Underground we have created story-telling vignettes where a great deal of consideration is given to the beauty and nuance of these disciplines and not just the very impressive feats of strength, agility, flexibility and skill – those things are in there too, but the difference is the cohesiveness and blending of the circus elements into the structure of the overall show as well as into telling a particular part of the overall story and experience of the production.”
“There is always real danger in the circus aerial performances that are in the show, with some of the drops and manoeuvres seeming only less dangerous by the skill and experience of the performers. But there is also the performance of razorblade eating, which does hold a very real danger of serious injury if there is a mistake or a failure of concentration, it could result in a trip to the hospital… Much like the fire-breathing which used to be in the show, but for many reasons has now been removed!”
Having had many years to perfect the production, Richard says it has evolved over the time and is now something really fun.
“The show has become so much funnier over the years, for us to perform and for the audience. Once you get that comfortable with a show and your role, and the interactions between the rest of the cast, you start to play… and play up,” Richard laughs. “It allows the show to be spontaneous and interactive. And then when you stumble across some diamonds in the rough of comedy gold just because you can improvise and play around, you tend to keep them in the show and play around with them even more. There is one part of the show that came about like this that now basically stops the show and has every audience in hysterics, I won’t say much more about it, except that it is very, very cheeky.”
You can see The Paris Underground Cabaret in Mount Gambier, Barossa Valley and Port Pirie. Book here:
8:00pm Thursday 6 September
Mt Gambier – Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre
Bookings: 08 8723 8741
8:00pm Saturday 8 September
Barossa Valley – Brenton Langbein Theatre, Tanunda
Bookings: 1300 446 925
7:00pm Sunday 9 September
Port Pirie – Northern Festival Centre
Bookings: 8633 8500
By Libby Parker