Director Scott Maidment of Strut & Fret delivers another dose of hedonistic, circus-driven cabaret and burlesque in his latest offering – 'Encore'.
Returning to Brisbane Festival following their record-breaking Sydney Opera House summer season, 'Encore' is 120 minutes of flirtatious theatre and dazzling acrobatic feats that will enthrall those looking for something a little bit edgy, a little bit naughty and, yeah, I won’t deny it – more than just a little bit titillating.
The 9-member troupe – six women and three men – go through their moves effortlessly, delivering a polished show that has hints of 1920s Parisian glitz coupled with Gatsby-esque glamour.
The cast work together seamlessly and from the opening moment it is evident the script demands that their athletic, beautifully proportioned bodies are on full display whenever possible. Despite this obvious trope, there are enough visual tricks to keep the audience focused – including some deft moves on aerial silks right through to exploding feather pillows, hula hoops and bouncing coloured balls which are tossed back and forth between the audience and cast.
Over the years, Blanc de Blanc have refined their shows and mastered their craft – producing festival shows with the right mix of sass, style, sex and champagne. Combined with high-end production values, stunning costumes, imaginative sets, and plenty of skin – it is a formula that is guaranteed to work the box office as hard as the performers work the audience.
'Encore' is not new, but it is classic Blanc de Blanc. It is unashamedly silly, lightweight and funny but successfully couples vintage sizzle with spectacular costumes and titillating acts – much to the delight of the audience.
Throughout the show, we are tickled by the antics and patter of the mostly amusing debonair host Remi Martin Lenz who delivers one sexual innuendo after another – creating an atmosphere that is more high school naughty than truly debauched but it works and the crowd love it.
While 'Encore' follows the age-old format of a variety show there is enough happening on stage to keep the boredom at bay and enough genuine surprises to keep everyone attentive. 'Encore' is pure entertainment (well. . . Maybe not so pure) but a wonderful example of well-staged and brilliantly executed cabaret theatre. The music pumps, the sound effects are on cue and the performers work hard to deliver their dazzling (albeit short) showcases of talent.
As always, the humour is risqué, the aerial arts breathtaking, and the big show numbers compare to the best of Hollywood’s 1940s musical delights. The women – resplendent in fishnets and ultra-tight corsets (or ‘barely there’ body suits) are a pleasure to watch and while the show starts with them emulating 1920s style flapper dancers it ends with them twerking furiously in a finale that would make Miley Cyrus proud.
Not to be outdone, the men attract sighs of joy (or jealousy) from the audience as they twist their bodies in unimaginable positions – flexing their muscular frames to the music. Simply, there is enough eye candy to satisfy everyone.
In a nutshell, 'Encore' sits somewhere between a hen's night out and a buck's party. All told – a rather satisfying and fun two hours.