Review: Forever Crazy

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Forever Crazy is a 60th anniversary celebration show by the Crazy Horse cabaret in Paris, which is one of the most famous nightspots in the city. The spectacle, at Hong Kong’s HKAPA, is tastefully-done semi-naked dancing, as one would expect. The beautiful dancers are deliberately chosen to be indistinguishable on stage in both height and shape. 

Crazy Horse was founded in 1951 by Alain Bernardin and remained in his family until it changed hands in 2005. The 14 numbers in the show, mostly created by Bernardin, are neatly divided into two acts lasting 100 minutes and consist of some of the best performances from the cabaret’s repertory in the past 60 years. They span a good variety of mood and scale – and certainly offer a most enjoyable night out.

The first section, God Save Our Bareskin, begins after a short introductory black and white film showing the cabaret in its early days. This has been the opening number of every Crazy Horse show since 1989. Ten women with long legs are clad in bearskin hats, leather boots and military uniform, and are pretty impressive in their uniformity in this mock military parade. Bernardin seems to have been inspired by the annual Trooping of the Colour ceremony in London to mark the Queen’s birthday. 

Another rousing Bernardin number is But I Am A Good Girl towards the end of the second half. The chorus-line of women are most exciting in their cheeky high kicks which curiously remind me of the style of another Parisian cabaret, Folies Bergere. Legs also feature in another Bernardin section, Legmania, which uses ingenious lighting effects similar to the style of American modern dance company Pilobolus. A good contrast is provided by the solo Chain Gang featuring a wild cat woman in a cage. Another solo, Lecon d’Erotisme, sees a girl posing seductively around a large magnified pair of red lips.  

Four of the numbers are choreographed by famous French contemporary dance choreographer Philippe Decoufle, who adds a modern touch to the cabaret. The best is his take on the 2008 global financial crisis entitled Crisis! What Crisis? This unusual solo is danced with conviction by a woman dressed as a stockbroker against a backdrop of a computer screen with constant updates of shares’ quotations. Upside Down sees three women’s limbs double up due to a glass table reflection.

However, unexpectedly, the loudest applause all evening goes to the only male dancer in the troupe, Robert Muraine. His solo Attraction is just sensational. Muraine seems to have no bones; he twists his limbs into the most unlikely shapes. If I had my way, he’d appear more than once in the evening. Do catch this excellent show which is running until September 21! Kevin Ng

Forever Crazy HKAPA, hkticketing.com, until Sep 21 (extra weekend shows added).

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