REVIEW: Blanc de Blanc | Strut & Fret

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image by Pamela Raith

Blanc de Blanc

Review by Cicely Binford

7.10.2016

If you’re in the market for something quite naughty to spice up your week, then look no further than Blanc de Blanc. It’s chock full of naughty bits from start to finish, as well as some jaw-dropping, nail-biting circus acts that might have you ducking for cover, or at least covering your eyes. Blanc de Blanc takes up residence at the Regal Theatre for their Perth stint, and this mad crew have plenty of the bubbly stuff on hand to turn the titillating night into a tipsy-turvy dance party.

Blanc de Blanc is a celebration of champagne, decadence and debauchery, and who better to take us through these things than a Frenchman? Monsieur Romeo is the sequin-clad, six-pack abbed, designer-stubbled host and he’s barely tolerant of his sinewy sidekick Spencer. They introduce us to a host of scantily-clad dancers, gymnasts, aerialists, contortionists and burlesque artists, providing tasteless jokes and dousings of champagne along the way.

There’s something odd about Blanc de Blanc at The Regal – the venue is really too big for the show, and though the audience is seated right down front so we can get up close and personal, the auditorium feels cavernous and you miss that crowded, sweaty, summertime spiegeltent feel that goes hand-in-hand with shows like Blanc de Blanc. The performers’ energy dissipates and the show loses its impact the further back in the auditorium it travels.

Nevertheless, if you’re seated right in front of the apron, watch out! You’ll be splashed by something, be it champagne or water from the hot tub they’re dipping into. Two aerialists perform a well-tuned duo in and above the hot tub, and M. Romeo strips to his Speedo to hold court from the water. The cast is oddly antagonistic at times, with hula-hooper Masha Terentieva giving house left the finger and a mouthed “f**k you;” rather than being offensive or funny, it just comes across as weird. I don’t know whether performing the second show of the night to a smaller-than-usual crowd makes the cast a little bit more passive-aggressive, but if it did, I couldn’t really blame them. It’s a lot of work.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of crowd-pleasers and top-notch artists among the acts: contortionist Shun Sugimoto is unbelievably good at turning himself into a break-dancing pretzel, and Emma Maye Gibson sparkles from every possible angle. She’s one of the show’s best assets (oh, please forgive me for that) because she does push the boundaries of taste, entertainment and sex with some very simple but subversive tricks. Spencer Novich does some expert clowning throughout – his training and background in commedia come through loud and clear, and though the material is a bit pulpy, you realise you’re watching a true craftsman.

Blanc de Blanc requires audience participation, and though you might want to whip out your camera to get some live shots to preserve the champagne-distorted memory, you have to wait until the prescribed moment when the cast comes into the audience for selfie time. Well, it’s a bit of crowd-sourced marketing, and all in good fun.

If you prefer to have your Fringe year-round, your art-deco aesthetic a little tatty, your entertainment boozy, wet, and sleazy, then this is the show for you.

 

CICELY BINFORD

Blanc de Blanc runs at the Regal Theatre until Oct 23, with two shows a night on Friday and Saturday. Visit the ticketek website for tickets here.

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