Many years ago, on a best-forgotten bus tour of Europe, I fell in love with Paris.
In the years since then, I’ve been back a few times…and each time I’ve found something new to love about it. On that first visit, the tour included a night at the Moulin Rouge. “Oooh la la!” I hear you cry.
The truth is, I don’t remember much about it. In fact, I’m wondering now if it was the Folies Bergere. It was a long time ago, and a lot has happened since then. Anyway, it was one of those cabaret shows in a stunning old theatre, with lots of can-can dancers decked out in feathers.
The thing I remember most is that we had the cheapest tickets available; stand-up tickets, right at the back of the theatre. And it was at the end of a long day, and I was tired.
Fast forward to last week, and I found myself at opening night of “Cabaret De Paris” at Jupiters Hotel & Casino on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Jupiters Theatre is renowned for its entertainment, and this cabaret signals a return to the kind of traditional show it was famous for in its heyday after opening more than 25 years ago.
When we arrived, beaming theatre-goers were posing for the cameras, flanked by be-feathered showgirls with professional smiles. We headed in to take our seats for the promised “burlesque extravaganza”.
I was not quite at the back – and certainly not standing up – but I was a trifle envious of those in the front section, seated at tables. Dinner and a show is part of the deal at Jupiters, with the bonus of a seat right in front of the stage.
Billed as “the longest-serving star” of the Moulin Rouge, Marissa is a blonde bombshell who links the performances of a line-up that includes magicians, comedy circus performers, aerial pole dancers, quick-change artists and of course – what everyone’s here for – can-can dancers.
The Paris theme runs through it…Marissa croons her way through a few French songs (think classics like Edith Piaf’s Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien) and the showgirls dance and prance to some upbeat numbers including Abba’s Voulez-Vous.
But despite the feathers and the glitz, the bare breasts and cheeky glimpses of bare buttocks, the disappearing acts and startling agility of the pole-dancer, the show is indisputably stolen by the charming antics of comedian Justin Case and his bicycles. The audience is never more enthusiastic than when he’s centre stage, and his piece de resistance is quite astonishing.
Suddenly, our 90 minutes is up and the crowd is surging out to the bar. We consult with Rebecca and her Nana, sitting in the seats alongside. Yep, they say…that Justin Case…he was wonderful!
So, is it a little slice of Paris? Well, that depends on your point of view. For me, at least, Paris is cobblestone streets, a little restaurant called L’Etoile Verte just near the Champs-Elysees (I wonder if it’s still there?), buskers and pavement artists, bookstalls along the Seine, a walk in the Bois de Boulonge.
But if, for you, an essential element of Paris is kicking up to the can-can…and if Paris seems too far away, revive your memories with an entertaining night out at Jupiters. The show will run until October 11.