For the first time since its creation six years ago, the famous (and some might say infamous) Parisian Nightclub renowned for its cabaret and tasteful erotic dancing girls has come to London.
Crazy Horse Paris, or Le Crazy, as it’s known nowadays in Anglo-French parlance, has been travelling all over the world, and now presents its latest show, Desire, here.
It felt strangely inappropriate to set up this dazzling, super-elegant show in a large tent in the car park opposite the National Theatre, but hey, they weave such magic in Paris, maybe London wouldn't notice. A huge mirror tent was promised, full of old-time Parisian chic, with velvety chaise longues, Chrystal chandeliers, you get the idea. So it was a little disappointing to enter the mirror tent via some barely covered planks; the sense of grand arrival felt a bit compromised.
And this, sadly, was a good indicator of what was to come. While the girls are, of course, very sexy, long-legged, and trying their best to be alluring while almost totally nude, there was no frisson to be felt in the audience. They were great dancers, but too thin to be softly alluring. (Maybe that’s why the choreography concentrated on back- postures.) At least we weren’t confronted with the little black strips of privacy protection that made the girls look like they had Hitler moustaches which multiplied and wandered to strange areas.
The packed house hardly stirred when the signature piece of 'bare skin’ began the show - 10 tall girls naked but for a tiny tanga briefs with huge bearskin hats on marching around, What is erotic in that? True, they didn't have a proper stitch on, but we are sort of used to that nowadays. This best of show puts together their most successful pieces, the programme says, but it took quite a while for the viewers to relate to these rather stern looking beauties.
The dancing was very accomplished and very practised, but there were few smiles and very little charm. The few pieces that were lighter and slightly more joyful, like Peek-a-boo and Baby Buns, got lots of applause, a sure sign of what pleased the audience. But creations like Chain Gang, which toyed with the darker side of sex, again left me wondering about its attraction. Scanner was worse - I really don’t think putting gorgeous girls in an electricity field to get them to dance wilder is a good message. Same thing for Up and Over It, where we had the dubious pleasure of seeing a young couple, both with black eyes, bruise each other further while taking loads of cocaine. Their frenzied percussion of hand and arm movements was almost too painful to watch. Sadistic is just not erotic for most people, I’d wager...
Guest star, Kelly Brook, doing an ‘Upside Down’ sliding maneuver on a pink couch was a huge relief. Her luscious curves on display did somehow feel not quite right, however, as if Miss Brooks wasn’t actually sure of her appeal. A true erotic dancer knows her power!
I realize the internet has made most of us much more desensitised to erotica. But this just wasn’t that erotic!