Wednesday, September 9, 2015
REVIEW: EMPIRE HEATS UP THE SPIEGELTENT
Recently, a new building popped up in my neighbourhood. It's a sleek, stained glass and wooden structure, with a windowed cupola in the centre of the roof.
Then, posters went up along the fence. The building is (mercifully) not the sales office for yet another waterfront condo project. It's a Spiegeltent, a portable structure invented in the late 19th century, and constructed to house a circus or other spectacle. In this case, the show is EMPIRE , the smoking hot adult circus by the New York-based SPIEGELWORLD company.
Last week, a circus-loving pal and I ventured into that cool-looking wood and glass structure at the foot of Rees Street on Queens' Quay, to take a peek at the goings-on inside.They are well worth a visit.
Velvet and wood booths interspersed with graffiti/street art influenced paintings line the walls. Inside that, rows of very comfortable folding wooden chairs and areas of little cocktail tables and seats surround a circular stage, beneath the centre dome. The interior feels like a cosy early 20th century New York saloon, complete with a bar at the back, where you may obtain popcorn and libation.
As the audience settles in, performers flaunting stylish costumes and outlandish characters float around the room, interacting with each other, and the audience: flirting, playing, seducing and gradually, completely immersing us in the world of the show.
It's quite a show! The production is an inventive and dynamic mash-up: part vaudeville, part Weimar cabaret, part Times Square street theatre and part naughty Vegas-style nightclub act. Jaw-dropping acrobatics and stunt-performances, underscored by guitar-driven pop-rock vocals are punctuated by some very risque comedy. A vaudeville style couple who appear willing to try anything once ensure, among other things that you may never be able to look at a banana in the same way again!
The entire production is incredibly sexy: edgy, glamorous, playful, inventive, and beautiful to look at. It's also incredibly romantic. As I watched the duos and trios perform their most high-risk feats, it was their trust in each other, and their commitment to their art that stayed with me, long after my walk home.
Leave the kids at home, and take your best beloved, or that hottie you've had your eye on, and go see EMPIRE. If a night in the Spiegeltent can't get you out of the friend zone, nothing will.
EMPIRE continues from September 1st in Toronto in the air-conditioned and licensed Spiegeltent at 318 Queens' Quay West at the corner of Rees Street and Queen's Quay. For dates, times, tickets and information: http://spiegelworld.ca/the-show/