Empire did not disappoint like all Spiegeltent production. It was a packed full house. A mix of artsy looking people and Times Square tourist people. I didn't know what Empire was going to be and it was hard to explain to my friends who are non-Spiegel-ers what kind of show it was. It was not vaudeville or cabaret or theater or burlesque. Although there are elements of everything, well no burlesque at all, there were little kids there. Empire seemed to have a storyline in the beginning with a song about New York's old name "New Amsterdam" so I realized the show is called "Empire" for NYC and perhaps an homage to NYC. The host character and his show wife established that they were showing us what was left of their "empire" so I think that was the loose narrative of the show. But the acts were so tight and the lighting production so dramatic, I didn't care if there was a storyline or not. I was really pleased to see a few Chinese acrobats in the show along with a duet featuring two black gymnasts who got a standing-O for their act. It's not that I go to every show "on the lookout" for minority representation but it's just so damn unusual to see Asians in show business! And I do identify with them so it did make me feel proud to see the Chinese duet do their thing. Many mainland Chinese go into circus training for acrobatics or gymnastics from a young age. If they don't make it into the national Olympics, they often go on world tours with people like Cirque du Soleil and in this instance, The Gazillionaire snatched them up for Empire.
Empire was heavy on acrobatic acts, and although it is really impressive to see what other people can do with their bodies that I can't, it got a bit repetitive in certain spots. I hesitate to compare Empire to the dreaded Quebecian-creation Cirque du Soleil, but if I had to explain it to non-users, I would say it it is an edgier and darker version of Cirque minus the awful music and faux-language plus a side of naughty humour and fun. There was something with bananas that was really amazing. In terms of seating, I would get the cabaret tables or the booths. Those have the best sightline. It was muggy last night so the tent was a bit stuffy. I saw a few tourists who can't handle the heat leave early and many people were fanning themselves with napkins and paper towels. If there was air conditioning, it wasn't very cool. So dress cool!
I can't wait to see Absinthe though next Sunday when I'm in Las Vegas! I must go pack!
|Beautiful blonde aerial dancer inside a huge plastic bubble|
|The chanteuse of Empire. I liked her Chinese qipao a lot and a pair of long fringe gloves she wore later on.|
|Another crazy acrobatic performance by a guy wearing grizzly bear johpurs|