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Cutting edge cabaret meets tradition at The Parisian Theatre
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Cutting edge cabaret meets tradition at The Parisian Theatre

The French cabaret is a cultural treasure that has centuries-old roots. Now you can see a modern take on this rich tradition at The Parisian Macao

You won’t find many experiences that include illusion, ice skating, dance, acrobatics, motorbikes, basketball and comedy all in one evening. But La
Parisienne Cabaret Français is no ordinary show.

Held at The Parisian Theatre, The Parisian Macao, La Parisienne is presented by a cast of 38 performers from around the world, who between them possess an extraordinary range of skills. Alongside the more conventional cabaret fare, the
can-can and burlesque dancers and magicians, are gravity-defying basketball acrobatics, ice skating and “Globe of Death” motorcycle racing.

Watching half a dozen motorcyclists roar around the inside of a cage, or seeing basketball players leaping 10 metres through the air to net a shot, you might not automatically think of French theatre. But La Parisienne is just one more step in the long development of the French institution of cabaret.

Cabaret owes its roots to the spontaneous entertainments that took place at French inns in the 16th century, at which writers and artists would meet to enjoy wine with a meal. It wasn’t until a couple of centuries later that professional entertainment was added to the bill. In 1881, Paris’ legendary Le Chat Noir establishment introduced the first of what would be recognised today as a true cabaret experience, with music, comedy and satirical performances.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Paris boasted dozens of cabaret bars and music halls, and the format spread worldwide throughout the century in an endless variety of guises. But the original Parisian style of cabaret is the iconic form of this tradition, and the one that has endured the longest.

Leading La Parisienne Cabaret Français is Artistic Director Abraham Kostanian, who studied at the national dance academy of Yerevan in Armenia. Kostanian, who now lives in Berlin, started his entertainment career in folk dancing, before going on to organise his own shows, based around different themes. He collaborated with performers from around the world, which ultimately gave him the idea for La Parisienne Cabaret Français.

Summing up the show, he says: “La Parisienne is a very well-studied, compact variety show that takes the audience and their imagination on a trip through different experiences, in 65 minutes.

The first incarnation of the show was revealed in 2014, in Malaysia; the
company then toured Europe. La Parisienne has been performed in South
Korea, China, Indonesia and Singapore, and arrived in Macao in 2018. But the
show that you’ll see at The Parisian Macao is quite unlike any previous version.

“La Parisienne is just one more step in the long development of the
French institution of cabaret,“ Kostanian says. "The inspiration was to create a story line that fits The Parisian Theatre; the show starting in Paris, then travelling to Macao, using very advanced technology and designs, with 4D LED screens that relay the message very clearly. My goal was to create, visually, a cultural bridge.”

Kostanian says performing at The Parisian is a treat for the performers, as well as the audience. “It is a new, exciting experience to be in Macao. It [The Parisian] is a very impressive venue, with an efficient, professional team of hotel staff to deal with.” 

By the end of the performance, the audience around us was quite breathless. Personal highlights were the “Globe of Death”: a huge spherical cage in which motorcyclists race around one another in a gravity-defying spectacle. An unexpectedly dazzling treat was the iceskating routine by Aleksandr Popov and Elena Efaeva, with the same dance that won Popov the Junior World Championship at the ISU Junior Grand Prix.

It would be no exaggeration to say that La Parisienne Cabaret Français is a feast for the senses.

See La Parisienne Cabaret Français for yourself at The Parisian Theatre,
from now until September 16, 2018.

For ticketing visit