Space Theatre, Sun Jun 8
Be prepared to be dazzled by a hazy and authentically arranged set and room, beautiful costumes and flirty French music. Shay Stafford’s’ show is professionally and smoothly managed by MC Bryce Corbett who we are quick to be informed is her husband whom she met during her sparkling 12 year career on the stages of Paris’ Moulin Rouge and Lido as a young dancer. The versatility of the set and the costumes changes all assist in creating a visual feast as Shay and her Can-Canette’s kick their way into our lives for an hour and make you feel for a moment that you are actually in the audience of a French show.
We are treated to a couple of interludes such as a suspended hoop and matching muscular dancer by the name of Duncan Brown demonstrating a beautiful fluidity and grace. Also enjoyable are the video montages of Stafford’s career and some of her memorable moments which all help to paint a picture of the rigours of such an existence and the sacrifices made to travel all the way to the other side of the world to realise this amazing dream.
One gets the feeling that our smooth MC suffers a little lack of attention as he casually drops into the banter details about his own career and his reason for being in Paris, which detracted from the glamour of the show and confused the direction somewhat. However, the idea of introducing the various performers was cleverly done and added interesting dimensions to the dancers, musicians and the storytelling.
Stafford’s costumes were of the highest quality and her obvious talent meant you felt as though you were privileged to be in her presence. A beautiful performance by pianist Matthew Carey and a piece of music by gorgeous French vocalist Monsieur P added a very classy touch and accentuated the calibre of the show. Stafford was endearing in every sense, sharing humorous anecdotes about various costume flirtations (a bunch of bananas being one) and the fear of having mum and dad visiting her in Paris and bearing witness to the few clothes and many feathers she wore onstage!
A highlight was certainly having five volunteers brought up from the audience and a mock run-through of the moves required to be a success onstage – don’t sit too near the front if being pulled onstage is something you fear. The seating, tables, and candles all assisted in creating a beautiful and comfortable space, which enhanced the ambience.
Shay Stafford is a gracious, talented and provocative dancer and her performance was highly memorable.
by Siân Williams
Memoirs Of A Showgirl continues at Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, until Mon Jun 9.