29 April 2018


Blanc de Blanc reminded me of cruise ships although plenty more risque. It's a popular entertainment: humourous, no claim on seriousness, lots of sex and indelicate language and suggestive patter and the central theme of alcohol, even if that's in the sophisticated form of champers. The champers actually forms a parallel with the show itself, bubbly and light but with those profound underlying skills and very vibrant and busy surface. That's nice and it goes over a treat. The audience is involved, sometime cajoled into involvement. The cheers and laughter and applause is also communal, if directed at and by the cast. The cast is nine performers with a very loud (dance party capable) sound system and a smallish stage with a few levels and a few props but they also come into the audience, to grab people or lead laughter. A large part of such a show will be the bodies and they were impressive. Strong, athletic, not so much lithe as muscular. There were some moves that were positively otherworldly, so difficult, so physically demanding, so strong or bent or balanced. We could wonder if these are aliens given the extremes. But no, just people, circus people in that role. But then there was burlesques and the pre-war cabaret. I think Weimar German, but I know little of this. Perhaps Polish or French or other. Popular music with suggestive humour, some "tits and bums" (as someone suggested waiting in line to enter), all in the apt space of a smoky Spiegeltent. I don't know to what degree we attend such theatre to see those tits and bums, or to see the circus and unbelievable contortions, or to hear the commentary and themes or to relieve daily life. Maybe there's someone for all those things, or maybe not in Canberra in 2018. We have lots and we can know lots historically and yet we often know little, given our comfort and ease. Something might change our awareness, but in the meantime, it may be just another cruise entertainment, although wondrously capable and on steady ground. Just incredible, wondrous, entertainment. Blanc de Blanc is apparently the "Champagne of choice among serious oenophiles" (WSJ, https://www.wsj.com/articles/blanc-de-blancs-the-wine-insiders-favorite-champagne-1450369557, viewed 28 Apr 2018). However you take it, this was a stunning show and people with audience in tight rows and partaking with gusto. Fun and perhaps portending more desperate times. Maybe climate or Dutton or other will give us those and BdB's themes will be more than just bubbly drink and stunning entertainment. Let's hope not; for all our sakes, better that it remains just incredible entertainment.

Blanc de Blanc was performed at the Spiegeltent outside the Canberra Theatre Centre.

Promotional pic from Blanc de Blanc by David James McCarthy.

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