fringe: blanc de blanc
Suffice to say, I loved it.
It's not for the faint-hearted though. It's definitely a "grown-up cabaret", more so than any of the somewhat similar shows I've seen before. And I think for some it may be a little more than they bargained for, even with the R18+ rating.
There's a lot of nudity, mostly female, but occasionally male... and the cast can and will molest the audience and every opportunity.
The show itself is a two hour mixture of circus, dance, comedy and some spectacular aerial work.
Monsieur Romeo is the maitre d' and ringmaster of this crazy little crew, and he's a commanding presence on stage... even more so when he changes costume in the second half.
All of the cast are amazing at what they do, but I have to give special mention to Spencer Novich who was just exceptional. It's hard to be the clown, but Novich makes it looks effortless, and his slender frame belies the amazing control he seems to have over every single muscle in his body. And without spoiling anything, his sound effect sequence is so completely flawless.
Likewise Masha Terentieva does spectacular things with a hotel luggage cart that need to be seen to be believed, but for me it was the personality she oozed from every pore throughout the whole show that I loved. To me she was channelling a somewhat insane and obscene version of Jean Harlow... if Harlow ever worked with hula hoops and flashed her breasts to the audience.
I've seen people do aerial work from water before... I've seen Soap, I've seen The Boy in The Bath (twice), but I've never seen it done so beautifully and sensually as real-life partners Hampus Jansson and Milena Straczynski. I mean it doesn't hurt that Jansson is so incredibly beautiful it's just ridiculous, but their routine was just spectacular to watch, especially when she was lifting him out of the water and supporting his whole body weight.
The asskicking ladies of Blanc de Blanc continue in two very different ways with Emma Maye Gibson and J'aimime.
Gibson, to quote the program, is an obscene beauty queen, surreal showgirl and sex clown. Yep, that's two words I bet you never thought you'd see right next to each other like that. But she manages to make the sexy stuff just the right level of funny and the funny stuff the right kind of sexy without it all falling down around her... ears. Oh, and if you see her doing her "I will survive" number, I have two pieces of advice, firstly, SING IT LOUD, secondly, take the maraca if it's offered.
On the flip side, J'aimime did a couple of amazing sequences first with a jacket and a hat, then with a really, really big balloon. I've seen the jacket routine before, but there was something about the way she did it that was so incredibly believable... but the balloon... well I've never seen anything like that in my life.
Last but not least, Shun Sugimoto is one hell of a dancer... he somehow manages to combine breakdance with contortion and make it equal parts breathtaking and horrifying. Plus he and Jansson make quiet sexy cats all dressed up in black lycra.
This is one of those shows where everybody does a little bit of everything (up to and including full frontal male nudity, thank you Spencer), and it's definitely more than the sum of it's parts, which is saying something, because those are some very talented, naughty and crazy parts.