The Grand Electric, Sydney.
9 June 2023.
Blanc de Blanc Encore, the sell out show at the Sydney Opera House in 2019, returned to Sydney for another dazzling season and opened on 9 June, at The Grand Electric in Surry Hills. The five-star extravaganza with lavish Gatsby-esque flair is a smash-hit show from Strut & Fret, the team from Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour and international sensation Blanc de Blanc (original), Life – The Show and Limbo.
The hedonistic evening was a thrill – serving up risqué humour, 1920s French flair, showy dance numbers, astonishing tricks and champagne soaked debauchery with a room full of laughter.
The evening started off with guests slowly flowing into The Grand Electric in Surry Hills. With bubbles and booze in hand, spectators made their way to their seats, and cozied up close to those next to them in each row. Introducing the evening was Felix Pouliot and Danny Collins – our French and British hosts for the night. Cheeky, comical and utterly confident, they warmed up the audience capturing everyone’s immediate gaze with a not so accidental wardrobe malfunction.
Pouliot is a multidisciplinary circus artist based in Montréal, with performance credits ranging from street shows to the great stages of Cirque du Soleil. His comedic and acrobatic skills, known around the world, served up the perfect dose of tongue and cheek throughout the night. Collins’ theatrical credits include 101 Dalmatians (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Gypsy (Alexandra Palace) and South Paciﬁc (Chichester Festival Theatre), and complimented Pouliot brilliantly with humorous banter which found themselves into very awkward but entertaining situations.
The dance numbers throughout the night dazzled the crowd, with signature cabaret moves, cartwheels, gorgeous kicks and splits by Melanie Hawkins along with other cast who were dressed in stylistic costumes known to the era. Following was aerial artists Charles-Éric Bouchard who impressed the audience with muscular yet angelic like ability. Back lit with blue lighting, in nothing more than silver shorts, his lines were executed with grace, strength and agility.
As the evening progressed, the two hosts had the time of their lives, interacting and causing audience members to blush, by inviting them up on stage and promoting them as their show assistance for their grandiose tricks. From here, bare and exposed hiding behind nothing but a French flag, Pouliot delighted the audience with his unusual musical trick. Swinging left to right generating a natural beat, he left the audience in absolute hysterics that was most contagious.
Out of the blue, the audience was transitioned into an intimate and interactive space as a parachute lit with purple light unfolded overhead, creating an engaging and playful experience and it rippled all the way to the back of the room – such simple fun isn’t just for kids at circus school! Next, foot juggler and aerial artist Emma Phillips charmed the audience with her skills. Known as New Zealand’s ﬁrst foot juggler, she is also one of the only Western artists to perform Chinese-style foot juggling in the world. Resting on a chair with legs in the air, dressed in a stunning gold and black sequinned costume, she commenced spinning one umbrella at a time, gradually building up to five and a small carpet, spinning them simutaneously with her hands and feet. This then led to tables – it was outrageously brilliant!
As the bubbles and booze flowed through the evening somehow, somewhere, a pillow fight with the crowd eventuated with feathers flying everywhere, landing in champagne glasses and on everyone’s heads and eyelashes. As each act transitioned into the next, Sasha-Lee Saunder wowed the crowed with her powerful vocals, as did Jess Mews with her hoops delighting spectators.
The next act was more risqué. The performers skilfully manourved nothing but towels around their body using different choreographic levels and angles leaving the crowd intrigued. As the banter continued throughout the evening between Pouliot and Collins, a new audience member was pulled up on stage. She was blindfolded and nominated as the new target for a daring balloon and sword throwing exercise. Following a roaring applause, for the successful cheeky challenge, champagne flowed from above as the goddess like aerial artist flew across the crowd pouring champagne into glasses.
Toward the end of the evening, the most memorable, artistic and mystical aerial artist Caitlin Marion Tomson-Moylan appeared. Entangled gracefully in and amongst ropes, she flew above the audience, with extensions that were so technically sound and musically arresting. It captivated the audience entirely.
Why did the show have to end? It was Sydney’s most entertaining party! The acclaimed international cast delighted the crowd with their opulence, dazzling decor and dance! Get your tickets, and enjoy an evening of burlesque and bubbles!
For locations, tickets and dates, visit the links below:
By Renata Ogayar of Dance Informa.