Riveting New Revue
When we took our seats at the Lido in Paris a few weeks ago and watched the flamboyant spectacle of sequins, plumes and rhinestones in Paris Merveilles unfold before our eyes, did any of us wonder about the masterminds behind the brand new show? 600 costumes, some with optical effects, 250 pairs of shoes, 200 hats, have sprung onto the glittering stage from the fantastical wand of young designer Nicolas Vaudelet, former collaborator of Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix. The stunning visual effects, especially the gigantic chandelier emerging from the depths and the monumental staircase disappearing into the mist with lithe topless dancers swaying sensuously to an orchestra of 45 instruments could only have been achieved with an elevated degree of technical brilliance.
Five hundred auditions were held across Europe and the United States to finalise the all-new cast of 32 women and 14 men. And for the first time in Lido’s history, a singer leads the audience into the sequential acts. Manon, a mezzo-soprano, handpicked by Franco Dragone, the creator and director of the new revue, displays her formidable range from jazz to soul to soft romantic renderings, composed by Yvan Cassar.
The Lido which opened on the Champs-Elysees in 1928 as an entertainment centre and metamorphosed into a theatre almost a decade later, has seen world famous celebrities step onto its legendary stage. Laurel and Hardy made their singular French debut here. Shirley MacLaine recorded a television programme and Elton John delivered a solo piano concert.
For the holiday-makers in Paris this summer, if you want to dodge a sudden drizzle, catch a champagne dinner at the Lido and when you feel well and truly satiated, lose yourself in an extravagant world peopled by perfectly sculpted bodies, sword swallowers, obedient swans and a mime artist who can bring a tear to the eye.