Conceived by Craig Ilott and Stuart Couzins. Directed by Craig Ilott. Designed by Alfred. Featuring: Brendan Maclean-Car5oline Nin-Bri Emrich-Lexi Strumolo-Beau Sargent – Masha Terentieva-Leah Shelton-Bentley Rebel. Space Theatre. Adelaide Festival Centre. June 11 – June 20
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
Bienvenue a L’Hotel. C’est tres magnifique! L’Hotel lures you into a world of mystery and intrigue, The atmosphere is seductive, immersing you in a world of French savoir-faire. The waiters greet you and lead you to your table where a glass of French champagne and a cheese platter await to tempt the palate and excite the taste. Waiters and waitresses glide between the tables, serving from a round red central table, adorned with flowers and fine French faire. You are a special guest, treated with all the charm and bonhomie of the hotel. At the reception desk the tall, black concierge receives the occasional guests who enter sporadically to be registered and led to their rooms. The music keeps the beat as the food and drink are served. On a level above in front of doors to the hotel rooms, the housekeeping servants attend to the needs of the room. Suddenly, on cue, those below and those above move to a perfectly timed choreography before resuming their tasks. The dance repeats at intervals until the lights dim in the space and come up on chanteuse, Caroline Nin, whose songs of love, and life lull us into that immersive sentiment of French style, charm and elegance.
Director, Craig Ilot’s orchestration of the life of L’Hotel is exquisite, as is every aspect of this perfectly staged production. We are seduced, lured into an experience that we will never forget. L’Hotel is art in motion, a banquet of sensations and emotions, mesmerizing and entrancing. Two female guests disrobe and perform an erotic gymnastic routine on and in a bathtub. An aerialist performs a routine on the Birdcage trolley which replaces the cleared flowers and food on the round central table. It is a feat of sheer strength and grace, that also serves as a suspended act by another spinning aerialist. The tall black concierge performs a cheeky striptease and in high heels is raised above the table to the amazement and delight of the audience. Brendan Maclean accompanies on piano and song. A masked old lady, cloaked in white enters and unlike an earlier burlesque dance, performed asshe a reverse striptease, now sheds her external outfit to reveal the young lady within. It is here in L’Hotel that our true selves may be revealed free from the limitations of the streets outside. Here it is liberating, here the shy can reveal themselves. Here the ugly can be beautiful. Here the conventional my become the mysterious and th rebellious. Here L’Hotel can give life.
Too soon, as the acrobat on the birdcage trolley spins madly the show that has enthralled comes to a close to the captive sound of Brendan Maclean’s rendition of Christine and the Queen’s People I’ve Been Sad . But now they are free. L’Hotel will free you of your cares in the world outsde. In a world so confined and so controlled, L’Hotel offers hope . It is a celebration of la Vie heureuse! And wonderful entertainment!
Photos by Claudio Raschella