Fishnet stockings! Alcohol! Gyrating females and bare breasts! All this... from puppets. Cabaret Décadanse is a rollicking, sassy, sexy and hilarious puppet feast for adults. It was a spectacular, vibrant 70 minutes that showed the expert skill of great performers.
This is an exciting time for Perth. Having just recovered from the Perth International Arts Festival, we are being inundated with the world best in puppets and puppeteers as part of the 20th UNIMA Congress and World Puppetry Festival.
Presented by Canadian company SOMA International, Cabaret Décadanse is an adults only performance where eight puppets and three puppeteers entertain us with popular cabaret tunes including Fever, Summertime, and a hysterical version of I Think He’s Gay.
Three puppeteers make up the team: Serge Des Lauries (Creator and puppeteer), Enock Turcotte (choreographer and puppeteer) and André-Anne Leblanc (puppeteer). Des Lauries and Turcotte worked closely together with the majority of the puppets, with Turcotte often being the ‘arm’ man. Using mainly rod puppets this meant that whilst Des Lauries operated the head, mouth and main body, Turcotte created expression with the arm (and occasionally hip) movement. The precision and fluidity with which they both moved together was fascinating to watch.
Leblanc primarily embodied the character of Amfitriona, the mistress of ceremonies. Leblanc used a large face puppet and swung and sashayed her body around the stage during the introductions. Amfitriona spoke in an unusual made up language called Franglaispagnol, which after a while I found incredibly frustrating. This was however, the only fault I found with the performance.
Throughout the performance, we were introduced to Conrad, an old drag queen, Lorraine Le Diva, queen of the nightclub scene, Kiko the sex bomb, Siba the rag and more. By far the highlight of the night was a closing act where Chica danced and sung to Chicago’s I Can’t Do It Alone. Turcotte, clad in hot pants, heels and fishnet stockings, was the bottom half of the Chica puppet whilst Des Lauries assisted. As odd as it sounds it was a seamless, beautifully choreographed performance.
Good solid lighting and sound helped create the cabaret vibe (I’d love to see it in a full cabaret venue). Lorraine Le Diva even treated an audience member to a sensual, side splittingly comical lap dance which was highly enjoyed.
Some people may find it odd having the performers so connected to the puppets rather than at string distance. I loved it, and enjoyed watching the energy and movement of the puppeteers as well. This is such a new concept for Perth, and I hope many more people get to see it during its short run. Bravo to the cast!
Venue: Playhouse Theatre
Dates/Times: Tue 1 @ 9:00pm; Wed 2 @ 9:00pm; Fri 4 @ 7:30pm & 10:00pm; Sat 5 @ 9:00pm
Duration: 70 minutes
Price: Full: $46; Concession: $42
Strictly adults only