Cabaret de Paris at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Be transported by the atmosphere and excitement of a Parisian-themed revue with a parade of first-class entertainers and the daring beauty of exquisitely bejewelled dancers.
Cabaret De Paris is a stage spectacular celebrating old-fashioned showgirl glamour combined with the skill of adagio dancers, aerial pole artistry, comedy circus performers, quick change performers, illusionists and of course the famous French Cancan Dancers!
Carly spoke with performer Marissa Burgess about the world of burlesque and everything we can expect from this glamorous show. Read the full interview below:
In the 120 years that Paris’ Moulin Rouge has been open, you are the longest-serving performer. Can you tell us a bit about what it was like going from Australia where you were born and trained to the Moulin Rouge and what your time there was like – a bit of a behind the scenes of the glitz and glam I guess.
I am the longest serving principal dancer (there are others who have performed longer than I, but not in a starring role) and have garnered many accolades and substantial fame accordingly.
Other than changing continent and culture, it's much the same as the grind I was brought up into in the Aussie dance scene. The costumes are just way better!
Dancers are expected to give their all for the performance and Aussies are trained hard and perform well under these conditions. The only real change is the schedule, of 12 shows per night whereas most professional dancers in Australia are only required to work at best 8 shows a week. This takes a gruelling toll on the body.
Of glitz and glam, that's the audience perception, a show full of glittering showgirls in a storybook theatre, but it is definitely a highlight being given such unbelievable costumes to wear. If you're lucky as I was, the day-job of modelling can be equally glamorous as I specialized in bridal wear! France is the land of Luxe so you can get easily accustomed to a champagne taste. But you don't take yourself too seriously it’s just part of scene.
Other than that it's just a job, a hard job with strange hours but it takes place in prestigious places and in front of thousands and often some of the stars of the world. A dancer is celebrated as a 'super-human' in Paris, much like Aussies do with sportsmen and women. They are respected for their craft and put on a pedestal, quite literally for their youth, skill and beauty.
A lot of very hard work and training goes into these performances – what has the preparation for this show – Cabaret De Paris – been like?
Despite the show being very well run in, successful, and having seasoned performers, it still takes quite a lot of coordinating and long hours of physical and often mental work, to pull it together. Dancers are' soldiers' and have a thirst for microscopic detailing and pushing their bodies to the limit. This is what gives the show the professional lustre. It's not something the audience can perceive unless they're industry professionals, and even, it's coated in a layer of unparalleled gloss. They're also delightful exhibitionists who adore being on display. A bizarre comment I often hear from people is 'how professional' Cabaret de Paris is. Which is odd to me, because I think what else are they accustomed to...?
I believe it is the biggest cast to come back to Australia to perform and has been choreographed by Australian dance icon Todd Patrick. Furthermore, as well the traditional
and spectacular showgirl glamour, there are a whole range of other performance styles being included in this show including aerial, pole, circus and adagio dancers, to name a few. What goes into the show from concept to final performance?
The choreographer, producer, dancers, acts and myself all have our own take on what we love about "French Revue" The styles are both rich and eclectic. It's a very old staple of French culture so once you get passed feathers and can-can, you'll find there's a lot more to a French production than the first stereotypes. We artists who have lived it, enjoy bringing the full spectrum to the Aussie audience. Avant Gardists and traditionalists will find it equally stimulating.
What is it like for you when you now perform in Australia – is it good to be home? Is there still a longing for the glorious and glamorous Moulin Rouge?
Doing our own take on the French Revue, completely independent to the famous Parisian show rooms, Lido, Moulin and Crazy Horse, Paradis Latin to mention a few.... Is like a dream come true. To have my own comfort zone of the French experience in an opulent theatre and to walk out to be on familiar streets of our country is truly having one’s cake and eating it too.
For those who have never attended a performance like this before, what can they expect? What as an audience member can I look forward to about Cabaret De Paris? And why do I definitely not want to miss this production?
If you haven't travelled and seen shows of this nature, you will find the ONLY show in Australia to provide that authentic experience. It's like taking a holiday to Paris for a day! I f you have enjoyed the riches of the 'old continent' you're in for a nostalgic treat too. without the airline fee!
If you have no pre-conception about what a Revue is, you're in for a wonderful discovery, the variety is so wide there's something for everyone.
Even children on selected showings. We've had feedback of the kind too, one more funny one was a tradey bloke, who honestly only came to check out the girls, but was kind enough to write in about his enlightenment and respect for our work, and claimed himself to be a "theatre convert!"
What do you think some of the biggest misconceptions are about your industry and how do you feel that productions like this go to righting those opinions? What do you hope that people leave the show talking about?
The obvious one is relating to our need for nudity. The Parisian woman is a goddess and as most goddess you'll find in museums and historical paintings, she is depicted nude, or near to it. We don't HAVE to appear this way, we WANT to! This is what all our hard work amounts to, to be the epitome of female excellence. It's a badge of honour and integral to the French productions.
I'd like the audience to come away with a sense of discovery, in a dream like state. Our artists are not the girl or guy next door, they're extraordinary, therefore they have to be presented in a a totally fantastical way. But we're not a bunch of snobs either which is an added bonus.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:
Favourite production you have ever seen?
Don Ardens Panache at the Lido 1985-1989
You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?
New York and can I go today?
Dream show to perform in?
Anything with a budget of $20million or over!
Plays or musicals?
Neither, I'm all about Revue., but if I must choose, musicals with lots of dancers and production value.
A hobby you have beyond the theatre?
Making showgirl costumes, also a business.
What’s next for you after this show?
TV production, behind the scenes.
Cabaret de Paris opens at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre on July 5 2019. You can get your tickets here.