Director Scott Maidment has once again proved his keen eye for astonishing international talent in assembling the cast for Strut n Fret’s latest production Deluxe Deluxe. A less polished show than its predecessor Blanc de Blanc, Deluxe Deluxe still brings a barrel of laughs and an eclectic array of talent to the fore with the flair we’ve come to expect of such productions.
Impossibly attractive Spanish acrobat Antonio Vargas Montiel impresses the crowd (let’s be honest, especially the ladeez) with his opening hand balancing routine, sending the room into a spin again further down the track with a scorching hot dual routine with sultry Austrian contortionist Penelope Elena, a show highlight for me. Dancer Hilton Denis wows with an exceptional tap routine and an impressive dance to Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’, replete with massive platform heels, while Olivia Porter brings her quirky physicality to the proceedings with some clever ball and hat numbers. The show is essentially linked and held together via the highly effective comedy of likeable compere Scott Nery and the musical numbers of Laura Michelle Hughes, who plays half-crazed to perfection. And without wanting to give too much away, let’s just say that Nery and Hughes together perform a rather cheeky version of ‘Blue Moon’ that I guarantee you will have never seen before (and will find you cannot unsee). The cast are all gorgeous and clearly masters of their craft, and each bring a disctinct sense of character to the stage.
Not every act is a winner, and there were a small handful of flat spots in the show, particularly in the first half. It’s clear that the production is brand spanking new and will certainly experience some re-tooling as it tours, a process which Blanc de Blanc undoubtedly went through before arriving all shiny and perfected to the Spiegeltent (on the other hand, it’s a great opportunity for audiences to catch something still very raw and exciting). But the concept is there, the talent is there, and (by the end), the same fun-loving, party atmosphere was there as well.
Blanc de Blanc is a tough act to follow, and Deluxe Deluxe tries gamely. While slightly hampered by the conference-style surroundings of the Paradise Showroom, a lack of cohesion in its theme and no set to speak of, it nonetheless shines in the wonderful utilisation of its cast. Ultimately, it’s a fun and highly entertaining evening out that will draw gasps and giggles from the most jaded crowds, and see you walking out with a giant smile on your dial. Also: super hot half-naked people. What more could you want?
Deluxe Deluxe runs to 29 July, and tickets start from $54 at hota.com.au. IMAGE (c) Carey Cam.