Masquerade Ball – Le Grande Cabaret review by Shannessy Danswan
Reminiscent of true underground burlesque, Masquerade Ball is a fun, vibrant array of glitz, glamour, and gorgeous pin-up beauties.
With enough talent to fill a large auditorium, the production value of this show was disappointing. Producer Camilla Cream proves herself as a beautiful, confident burlesque performer, standing out as a seasoned dancer. However, the overall professional aspect of this show was lacking. Quirky as ‘Hares & Hyenas’ is as a venue, and definitely fitting contextually, the venue’s capacity to hold a show of a professional calibre is lacking. With lighting cues missed and sound issues that ensued throughout, the performers’ acts at times felt lacklustre and unrehearsed. That being said, each performer brought their own unique essence to the stage and found their moments of ‘gold’ in the end.
From classical burlesque acts to non-traditional, the variety of talent was impressive. Lavish costumes and fantastic jazz and pop song choices kept the audience engaged throughout. Breaking stereotypes, Aria Scarlett emerged with classical notes that soared, and bold bright pink hair and tattoos that unashamedly said, “I am me, and that’s how it is.” A warm reminder to the audience of our ever-evolving creative industry, and how spectacularly broad the world of cabaret, drag, and burlesque can be.
Evana De Lune most memorably caught my eye in her stunning emerald green number. A self-proclaimed ‘lizard queen’ and burlesque sensation, Evana slinked her way across the stage like the seductress she is. Ten points to Slytherin for her courageous wander through the audience and leggy strides across the stage.
Another standout was the extremely flexible Lord Lovat, who with a gymnastics influence, pushed boundaries, social norms, and levels of creative expression. The only thing I was disappointed with was how highly the MC spoke of Lovat’s twerking without us actually getting to see his record status in action!
Speaking of the MC, comedian and unexpectedly talented ‘pop and lock’ mover, Patrick Collins, was the glue that bound. Without his quick wit and charismatic stage presence, this show would not have been nearly as bountiful. Collins performed to our small group as if he were performing to hundreds, proving himself as an outstanding comedian and host. Quips about being bi due to the likes of Lord Lovat, and jokes about being an average magician had us in stitches. His fond introductions of each act also left the audience wanting more Patrick.
Overall, each act was strong and gave us a fabulous glimpse into the world of all things deliciously taboo, however the overall production value of this show needed to be much higher to support these independent artists’ work.