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Burlesque goes apocalyptic | Apocalesque!

Voodoo priests and centaurs will be on board with this not-so-merry band, along with Mad Max-inspired characters and a blood-thirsty ringmaster... to say nothing of the array of cultists that operate way outside the limits of political correctness

noauthor
11 May 2018, 7:00am
Taking place at City Lights, Valletta, Apocalesque! will be a satirical twisted cabaret of fringe theatre variety acts
Taking place at City Lights, Valletta, Apocalesque! will be a satirical twisted cabaret of fringe theatre variety acts
Taking place at City Lights, Valletta from May 18 to 20, ‘Apocalesque!’ will regale audiences with an eclectic and madcap array of comedy sketches and performances, which take their cue from topical happenings on the Maltese islands, but as reimagined in a decidedly dystopian key.

Something of a ‘comeback’ show for Creative Island – the troupe at the core of the initiative – Apocalesque brings together a varied band of theatrical performers, writers and musicians for a night of no-frills, all-thrills fringe theatre.

It’s post apocalyptic Malta, and the enormous weight of the construction boom has caused the island to collapse. The only ones that remain are the filthy dregs of society. Culture, however, is thriving with sinister priests, voodoo goddesses, feline slaves and flesh eating virgins luring victims into their beautifully twisted cabaret.

Stressing that the event marks a return to the format after a four-year absence, director Nicole Cuschieri, at the helm of the shows ever since their inaugural edition in late 2009, betrayed great enthusiasm for the upcoming performance.

“Bringing back the show after all these years has been a delightful trip down memory lane,” Cuschieri said.

“It has been wonderful to reconnect creatively with artists whom I have worked with so closely over the past decade. And introducing fresh talent to the show has inspired the show delve into new and wonderful places,” she added.

Speaking about the theme of this particular edition, Cuschieri stressed how the shows always had a cheeky satirical bent. Starting off in late 2009 with an ‘audition’ set-up (where the device allowed for the kind of high-quality but unassuming mix of performances to be borne out), the shows were always staged in off-the-beaten-track venues, which often had a direct influence on the overall feel of the show itself. So, with the early shows taking place in an underground wine vault in Strait Street, subsequent editions would occupy the belly of a pirate ship – yielding, naturally, to a ‘monster cruise’ – while a more recent one took place at the Royal British Legion in Valletta... which of course was presented as ‘entertainment for the soldiers’ in World War II.

Now the troupe – whose composition and overriding philosophy very much resembles that of a travelling circus act – will be settling into City Lights in St John Street, Valletta. While the venue does come with a particular reputation – which, if anything, only strengthens the subversive resolve of the Creative Island troupe – its infrastructure offers the perfect atmosphere for the fringe theatre approach that characterises the group.

In fact, one of the performers will confront this reputation directly, with a song that sends up “the hypocrisy of the people’s attitudes towards the porn industry”. Taking advantage of the exaggeration and grotesquerie afforded by the post-apocalyptic theme, other sketches will skewer the planning authority and the gentrification of our capital city.

“All the performers and writers in the show have something to say. We are all affected by what goes on around us and comedy is the most powerful way we can voice our concerns to anyone who will listen,” Cuschieri said.

But the theme also allows for some deliciously dark aesthetics to seep through. Given how the show runs the gamut of not just sketch comedy and music, but also the more traditional, ‘acrobatic’ brand of burlesque and its penchant for visual spectacle, the apocalypse theme allows the group to delve into the grisly and the macabre.

Voodoo priests and centaurs will be on board with this not-so-merry band, along with Mad Max-inspired characters and a blood-thirsty ringmaster... to say nothing of the array of cultists that operate way outside the limits of political correctness.

In short, it will be a show that pulls no punches, and offers an entertaining but rough-and-tumble night out in a unique venue – a welcome respite from other more polished, but far less edgy, cultural happenings.

Apocalesque! will be staged at City Lights, St John Street, Valletta on May 18, 19 and 20 at 20:00. Writers and performers include: Joseph Zammit, Alex Vella Gregory, Teodor Reljic, Veronica Stivala, Zicotron, Kevin Canter, Marie Claire Camilleri, Becky D’Ugo, Miriam Calleja, Undine LaVerve, Philip Leone Ganado, Nathan Brimmer, Coryse Borg, James Ryder, Svetlana Pandolfino Victoria Tabone, Yasmin Ives and Michael Zarb Fenech. The show is directed by Nicole Cuschieri and produced by Creative Island. Bookings: http://www.creativeisland.com.mt/events/apocalesque/

Photography by Jacob Sammut

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Burlesque goes apocalyptic
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