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[email protected] City of Dreams

2015/1/20 — 12:36

I’ve seen Taboo before in its previous incarnations and I think that this version of the show is much better. For those that don’t know what Taboo is, it’s a burlesque review at City of Dreams that’s been playing the past two years at their Club Cubic. It’s a good use of the space and nice to see that someone is trying to do a professional showgirl-type show in Macau. There’s a spot for classy adult entertainment in the casino market in Asia, and Dragone has created Taboo to fill this void.

The show has a great singer to host the show. Traditional dancers, fire dancers, aerial acts, pole acts and more avant-garde works (like the sword swallower and the multi-media act) fill out the 80 minute production. The show has moved away from its previous storyline of "exploring Taboos" into "let’s embrace Taboos in our own lives." It works much better as a show because of this.

The highlight of the show is the singing act, Trenyce, of "American Idol" fame. She’s originally from the US and a wonderful performer, both from a vocal perspective and from her stage presence. (And just FYI, she was in the original Broadway cast of the "Aint Misbehavin'" revival.) In previous versions of the show, I felt she was underutilized and only used as filler.  However, in this new version of the show, she takes center stage as Emcee, guiding us through the show, an appropriate place for such a talented lady. 

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Other performers like Teta-Maria Stone, Roman Bonaton, Cécile Magdeleine, Anastasia Krutikova, Vanessa Biel, and Lucky Hell round out the headliners for a strong cast that is talented and dedicated to their crafts. The cast is from all over the world and speaks tons of languages. They’re also very friendly with their fans - maybe stick around after the show and practice your French?

The cast has great energy from the get-go and really tries to get the audience involved in the show. Chinese audiences can be a bit reluctant for audience participation, but I appreciated the Taboo cast’s fortitude in this area. Audience members left with a smile and great selfies with the cast. They permit photos during the show, as long as you turn off your flash. Imagine the Instagram photos that have happened with this show!

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From a choreographic perspective, there’s good use of the space and stage. The director tries to make sure a variety of stage pictures and spaces within the club are used so that audience members can see things from a variety of angles. Cabaret seating can sometimes be a bit difficult to work with, audience members who purchase the C section tickets should be aware there will be partial views of some parts of the show when the dancers go on the top platforms upstage. Raised platforms within the audience make for great little stages- giving people in the cheap seats opportunities to see things up close and get involved.

My favorite number belonged to the body builders/aerial artists, Roman Bonaton and Cécile Magdeleine. In my previous review I had written about the sauna number that had been performed to “Personal Jesus.” It was one of my least favorite pieces in the previous version of Taboo. They’ve reinvented this number into one of my favorites. They’ve changed the music and made it a doubles act in the tub. It’s a performance that is incredibly difficult from a technical perspective and beautiful to look at. It no longer comes across as cheesy, as nudity for nudity’s sake or as overtly theatrical. This same team also did an aerial routine in the second half suspended over the audience that had some death defying tricks in it. They are performers willing to take a risk and members of a show that is open to changing and improving their production. I really like that about Taboo. Every time I’ve seen it- it’s different and better than the last time.

For audience members that suffer from light sensitive migraines or epilepsy,  the new light design for this production is very heavy on the strobes and should come with a full warning to you that you could end up feeling sick- especially after the multi-media piece. This piece was very reminiscent of some of the earlier work I’ve seen on the Blue Man Group stage, with nudity thrown in.

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