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Empire by Spiegelworld at Crown Rooftop

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by Elizabeth Quinn (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Melbourne and happy to spread the love for funky town with the WeekendNotes readers.If the feeling is mutual you can subscribe to my articles or share them with your friends.Or visit my website at
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Empire: A pared down pumped up Adults Only Cirque du Soleil
Staged in the atmospheric confines of a Spiegeltent, Empire is a pared-down pumped-up Adults Only Cirque du Slapstick, with a healthy dose of irreverence for its franchised French sister. As our hyperactive host tells it, "Ya know what? We don't have to have a story just because those Cirque du Soleil assholes do."

That statement pretty much set the tone for what was to come. The most gravity-defying mind-boggling collection of acts with a (very tenuous) link to the history of New York's nightlife, this extravaganza is the creation of a largely Australian creative team and an international cast of freaks of nature, starting with our very own freak of nature, Queensland-born contortionist Lucia Carbines as the Girl in a Bubble.

Her opening act demonstrated that a confined space is no barrier to spectacular performance: placing her in a plastic 'bubble' suspended above the heads of the audience meant that every seat in the house had a bird's eye view of the flame-haired bundle of limbs that was Miss A in a Bubble.

What followed was an hour and a half of frenetic slapstick interspersed with acts of superhuman concentration during which you could have heard a pin drop. Music was provided by a fabulous cabaret-style singer backed by a very scary guitarist, with an eclectic musical selection that gave a nod to both the US vaudeville 'storyline' (such as it was) and a very Australian sensibility. For this reviewer, 'Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps' will always be associated with that good old Aussie classic 'Strictly Ballroom', but was used to great effect in Empire in a Caveman number. Who woulda thought? That's showbiz, people!

Empire may be set on a small stage but this production has a huge heart. The intimate space of the Spiegeltent was no barrier to a cracking good show. The feats performed by this band of elite athletes was nothing short of breathtaking: a quick glance at the audience at moments of high suspense showed 700 faces in rapt attention.

Melbourne in March and April offers an embarrassment of entertainment in a feast of festivals over a variety of venues. Make sure Empire by Spiegelworld at the Crown Rooftop is on top of your list.
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Why? A night of soaring highs in a Spiegeltent on Melbourne's (Crown) rooftop
When: March 11 to April 20 2014
Where: On the rooftop at Crown, access via Level 3 Whiteman St Southbank
Cost: $59 to $149
Your Comment
One of the best show I've seen in my life! Must see. Brilliant.
by Cunha (score: 0|2) 1696 days ago
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