Blanc de Blanc Encore @ The Garden of Unearthly Delights, Adelaide 19/2/2020

Billed as “a brand new show”, Blanc de Blanc Encore is, as the addendum to the title suggests, a revisiting of that show by Strut & Fret and follows on from the success of the more structured and narrative (well the first half anyway) Life – the Show staged during the 2019 Adelaide Fringe.

The show commences with a prelude performance by the ensemble evoking a Prohibition-era speakeasy theme with the addition of mirrorballs and Afro Cuban musical accompaniment before the stage is left to the loose hosts Remi Martin (straight from performing in his other show L.I.A.R. nightly) and Felix Pouliot. In their introductory dialogue they warn the audience and describe their act as “in your face”, subsequently becoming aware of a deliberate costume malfunction that sets the tone for some of what is to follow during the next two hours. There is this, a sequence of percussive inner thigh slapping “happiness” (try saying that with a French accent) along to Non Je Ne Regrette Riens, and a burlesque routine with the other performers involving the use of bathroom towels that place this very much in the realm of an adults only show.

Two quick fire sequences of recontextualised mimed song and audio grabs replicating channel surfing don’t exactly bookend the show but indicate the eclectic range of musical material sourced to compile the soundtrack employed therein. During a series of performances that include technically accomplished dance sequences, some songs are sung live and there is a dizzying aerial routine played out directly above the audience along with a later pole vaulting sequence that are just the right amount of acrobatics so as to not over saturate the show.

There is an appropriate amount of audience interaction and participation onstage and off to vary the routines with some individuals invited to act as props during the performances. At one point several members of the audience are encouraged to participate in a pillow fight onstage that leads to the involvement of the greater audience.

Some routines could have been excised (the two sequences of masturbatory blowing a load of confetti are self-indulgent, for example) but overall this was a quite satisfying and filling evening to be had and it would be fair to say that Blanc de Blanc Encore might possibly be the best cabaret variety show this fringe season.

Fringe Review By Jason Leigh