A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Moulin-Rouge meets Melbourne in cabaret
The smoke clears as we hear the sounds of a train screeching to a halt and we are transported to the Paris underground - scene of the cabaret show currently playing at the Alex Theatre, 135 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda. Onto the stage struts MC Richard Vegas - in real life an acting graduate from NIDA, but for tonight a French accented, immaculately dressed gentleman who is the glue of Paris Underground.
From there, the audience is treated to many of the cabaret acts we have come to expect - magic, music, dance, drama, feathers and flesh.
Vegas and Julia Madotti - who together produced and created the show - offer up some polished magic and illusion sequences. Madotti is one of Australia's few female magicians and illusionists.
Vegas and Madotti - as well as co-creating and producing the show, they are accomplished magicians and illusionists
Vegas is supported in the MC role by chanteuse Aurora Kurth, who takes on the straight acting, slightly disdainful persona, dripping with 'French arrogance'. She leads an audience participation sequence later in the show which is hilarious.
Aurora Kurth - great job in leading an audience participation sequence
Of course, there has to be a stripper in a cabaret - and in Paris Underground there are two - well sort of. We're not talking full nudity here, but some sexy sequences involving flesh and feathers. Zelia Rose, recently crowned Miss Burlesque Australia, takes on the classic stripper role. She is lean as a whippet and I was mesmerised by her abdominal muscles!
Doing a bit of an 'impromptu' strip, as well as dancing some amazing tap routines and generally clowning around is the versatile Eden Read.
And finally, no cabaret is complete without displays of physicality in the form of a gymnast or acrobat. In Paris Underground, there are two wonderful performers, whose performances I have to say were my favourite in the show. Tim Ruttys, a former international circus performer, is impressive in his acrobalance display, holding amazing form while balancing on hand supports.
Hannah Trott performed perhaps my favourite act of the night, with a large hoop, slightly wider in diameter than she is high. She performs a breathtaking, elegant performance which is part dance, part balance using the hoop, in a way that looks effortless and graceful. She also performs the finale act later in the show, a stunning aerial silk display in which she uses two long strips of fabric, side by side, to wrap, suspend, fall, swing, and spiral her body into and out of various positions. All of this without a safety net or line of course.
Hannah Trott - my favourite acts
This was a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable show. Its polish and finesse is a testament to the fact that Paris Underground premiered in 2013, and Vegas and Madotti have been refining it ever since.
If I was to give some critical feedback about the show, it is that I'm not sure the style of venue works best for this type of cabaret. That is no criticism of the Alex Theatre or the cast, it's simply that I've had more enjoyable experiences of cabaret/variety shows when they're performed 'in the round'. I feel that the audience and cast members have a greater opportunity to engage with one another in that situation.
But don't let that put you off! It's still a fun show, and great value for money.
Click here to see a clip of Paris Underground:
Paris Underground plays at 8.00pm each night until Saturday 24th September. Running time is 120 minutes including interval, and it is recommended for ages 15 plus.
Ticket prices range between $24.90 and $49.90. Click here to purchase your tickets online.