It’s the Sunday before Halloween Monday and after a long month of new job stress, is it so much to ask for an evening with gorgeous nearly naked girls (and guys)? I sure hope not. I harbour a distinct admiration for the art of burlesque and when I read about Les Coquettes’ Cabaret Enchanté show of fairy tales gone awry, I jumped at the opportunity.
When my date, Bob, and I arrived at the Revival club, we were pleasantly surprised by the huge crowd filing through the doors – a sea of beautifully adorned people: fascinators, pin-curls, glitz, glitter and costumes galore. The crowd took their seats and when the lights dimmed and the music started, our gaze wasn’t captured by the stage up front but by the spotlight focused to the back of the club as the cast of stunningly dolled up performers took to the stage through the crowd.
The lovely La Minouche portrayed the Fairy Godmother and was our Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening, dazzling the audience with her scintillating tongue and cheeky commentary. The cast of characters included Dante Inferno as a snappy and spicy Queen of Hearts and an equally innocent and demure Little Mermaid, Charlotte Webber as Alice and Miss Muffet/Spider, Billie Black as Rapunzel and Suki Tsunami as The Prince and the Red Shoe Maiden, among others.
What ultimately captured my attention was how much more complex the performance was than I expected. The audience was in for far more than just song and dance numbers about Alice’s naughty adventures or what happened to Goldilocks when she was caught sleeping in Baby Bear’s bed.
Cabaret Enchanté incorporated plenty of gravity-defying acrobatic feats to keep the audience entranced, including Charlotte Webber’s Miss Muffet/Spider routine while suspended over the stage by a webbed hoop as well as Billie Black and Suki Tsumami with a Rapunzel and Prince routine on aerial silks.
The most memorable routine of the performance didn’t feature one of the lovely ladies, but one of the “man props,” Dew Lily as Pinocchio. Tired of being a boy and desiring only the return to toy-hood, the incredibly arousing display included a performance of The Smiths’ “How Soon is Now” while being strung up in an elaborate rope bondage and suspension scene by Geppetto (Les Coquette’s stage manager The Control Enthusiast).
I hooted, I hollered, I catcalled with the best of them; I became incredibly disappointed when my early morning prevented me from attending the sinfully tempting after party following their later performance. I even had to resist my boyfriend trying to coax me back to his place, both of us still reeling from that rope display. A better way to spend the night before Halloween would be hard to imagine, for as reminded by La Minouche, “I do believe in T & A”.
Photo of Dew Lily by Ryan Visima