Local Canberran. Reluctant member of the Smashed Avo set. Lover of the classics.
Get a taste of vaudeville in the heart of the city
I had a good feeling about Papillon Unplugged at La Petite Grande before the show even started. The tent, pitched behind the carousel on Canberra's City Walk, is gorgeous. It's panels are decorated with figures who look like they've just stepped out of the Broadway Melody scene – the one where Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse dance up and down the hippest street in town – in Singin' in the Rain. The tunes emanating from the tent as we were waiting outside were even more exciting; some early big band and swing reminiscent of Paris in the 1920s and 30s.
The show itself carried on this 1930s bent. For sixty minutes, we saw musical performances interspersed with old-fashioned acrobatics, mixed with a dash of mime, a sprinkling of classic – and dangerous looking – juggling and the odd dirty joke. Several mini, standalone acts, all impressive albeit a little bit odd. I'm no expert but the small crew, each with their own special talents, appeared to nail the vaudevillian vibe. This young cast demonstrated a passion for performance and for the cultural legacy of vaudeville. I don't think you can ask for too much more than that.
The tent itself was surprisingly comfortable. Plenty of room, cushioned benches and a serious heater which fended off the winter chills. It's definitely cosy and, with the basic set and the acts performed just metres in front of you, definitely unplugged.
In my earlier article, I described how us Canberrans should embrace this coat weather and make the extra effort to go out and do something different. Papillon Unplugged made a great winter excursion. It's a little bit random but I think it's supposed to be. It's unashamedly entertaining. No thinking necessary. Just fun.
Papillon Unplugged starts at 7 pm on 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 July. There's plenty of activities on the City Walk at the moment, so rug up and make the most of it.