BWW Review: LE CABARET DE POUSSIÈRE at Le Zebre De Belleville

BWW Review: LE CABARET DE POUSSIÈRE at Le Zebre De Belleville

Before this show can be reviewed, I have to tell you that this review is going to be unfair.

Because I didn't really SEE the Cabaret de Poussière.

I was there, but I didn't SEE it.

Because I was sitting almost completely behind the stage.

I made the mistake of adapting the Parisian way of life- for once, I showed up to a show AT showtime. Usually this poses no issue, especially as no show in Paris starts on time. But the Cabaret de Poussière has such a loyal following and small venue that the audience had apparently started arriving half an hour early to ensure they got the best seats. It was a wise move.

Having never been to the venue (Le Zebre de Belleville) before, I did not know that finding a seat would be such a struggle! I was left looking for whatever chair I could find. Turns out that the only chair left was at the very end of the balcony, next to the stage lights. If you look in the photo on this article, you can actually see me behind and above the artists). I was not the last one in the room though- there were several people who remained standing. But after squeezing past several dozen people to find a place to park my behind I was not about to give up that real estate, so I did not get to indulge in the bar offerings during the show. I was in a unique position to observe the majority of the audience as I watched the show though, which allowed me to see the relationship of artist to audience in a new way.

The Cabaret de Poussière is headed by Martin Poussière (or as he is sometimes known, Martin Dust, as that is what Poussière translates to!). It is a variety show that changes month to month, but there are some elements of consistency as well.

Dust acts as MC, introducing each act, performing in and writing the opening and closing numbers, and speaking directly to the audience about the process of creating the show.

On October 2nd, the lineup of guests included two burlesque artists (Mara de Nudée, Séléné Du Styx), a drag artist (Big Bertha), and a pair of tap dancing pin up girls called The Whoopees. There is a regular cast and regular musicians as well, but the regulars are featured much less than the guests.

The evening is a true cabaret, a mash-up of all the acts in the atmosphere of a huge party. However, where I was sitting, I was removed from the party. And it was really hard to get into it. Many of the artists never once played to my part of the audience, and the burlesque and drag acts depend on reveals that are spoiled if you can see them from behind. I could see that the audience in the main section was having a joyous time, and I felt very jealous that I wasn't down there in the thick of it.

You can also see the anarchist values of the cabaret reflected in Dust's performance- he will go off topic to interact with the audience, change his outfit to be more comfortable, and embrace the moments he forgets his own lyrics with style! However, this also meant that the fifteen minute intermission was actually a bit more than a half hour.

The show feels like something you need to get in on- there are plenty of inside references to other artists, and the audience shouted phrases after certain prompts that I had never heard, so I assume it's a mainstay from previous shows. The show would be much funnier and more enjoyable if you're able to be a part of those jokes.

There were also many references to French news and politics- much of which I didn't understand but could tell was hilarious to the rest of the audience! Sometimes the language barrier proved too much for me and my mind wandered. But overall, I found Dust and the guests captivating and talented.

The finale by Dust was so hilarious I find myself wanting to reference it constantly, and giggling about it now as I recall it- a truly hilarious comment on the world of today that gave me something to party about in my faraway seat. It is vulgar and graphic- as any anarchist cabaret would be! If you find the Cabaret de Poussière Facebook page you will be able to find a video of the song with subtitles.

If you like social justice, comedy, celebration of otherness, singing, and dancing, the Cabaret de Poussière is for you! Just get there early, and sit in the middle. You'll get a much richer experience! And remember that the artists are different every month, meaning that you can go again and again and have a very different experience each time.

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From This Author Lauren Allen

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