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BWW REVIEWS: EMPIRE: Welcome To A Different World

The cabaret and circus worlds infused last night as incredibly talented performers welcomed their audience into the wonderful world of Empire at the return season of this ridiculously thrilling show. The intimate nature of the show captures your attention and imagination from the moment you step into the tent and that imagination is taken on a whirlwind ride through the vaudevillian world captured so aptly by its creative team led by director Terence O'Connell and choreographer John 'Cha Cha O'Connell.

The curtain lifted on the miniature stage to reveal a giant bubble suspended in the air with Australian contortionist Lucia Carbines entrapped within it performing her beautiful delicate act. American MC's Jonathan Taylor and Anne Goldmann then set the tone for the rest of the evening with their raw, naked and profanity laced dialogue. Taylor sums up Empire brilliantly when he says 'we're not like that bullshit Cirque, we don't have to have a storyline.' This best sums up the difference between Empire and any other cirque show that has come before it. It's edgy, gutsy and completely focused on the performer, noticeably shying from any form of story or meaning.

Empire is very loosely based on, in and around New York with costume and song references to the city littered throughout the offering. American singer Victoria Matlock and Guitarist John Shannon have great presence, accompanying most, but not all of the acts. They have great rapport with the audience encouraging them to interact throughout.

Without doubt the highlight of the evening is Russian roller-skating duo Mariia Beisembetova and Denis Petaev. Their speed and precision to the accompaniment of dark grungy rock music was precise and flawless. It was mind blowing to witness what they could achieve in such a small space. Just when you thought what they were doing couldn't be any more dangerous they took their act to another level. What they were creating defied logic and completely transported their audience to a different plain.

The transitions between the acts and the MC's were brilliantly executed, the sound and lighting was perfect and the atmosphere created by all of these technical aspects coupled with Angus Strathie's costume design complimented the artistry of all performers.

If you missed Empire the first time around be sure you do not miss it this time. It is a night unlike any other that you have had at the theatre, or the circus or a cabaret. Actually is unlike anything you will have ever seen.


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From This Author Tim Carney

Tim Carney graduated from Lasalle College of the Arts Singapore with a Bachelor of Arts in Musical theatre. Tim relocated to London performing in the (read more...)

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