Saturday, 11 August 2012

Burlesque dans les arbres


Introducing...Miss Superfly, who has been left hanging (as it were) while we've been away for a few days on the Cote d'Azur, staying with friends near Antibes and then wandering around on the coast.

Miss Superfly arrived in the dusty Place d'Ormeau in Viens at 6.30 in the evening, an exotic creature in a kimono - which she rapidly shed to jazz music. She sang in English - in an authentic French rasp that convinced no one she was American, as the compere had claimed - and danced while trying on various hats designed to look like a fly's head. She smoked a cigarette as if she had stepped into a 1940s film and pretended - at least we hope she was pretending - to swig from a bottle of hard liquor.

There was a murderous rendition of God Bless the Child and then the main part of the act: she swung herself up onto a trapeze suspended some twelve feet above the ground, as lithe and supple as a child, though she was clearly rather more advanced in years.


As with all the best live performances, there was a thrill in knowing that things could go wrong. Along the way to the ascent there had been glitches and hiccups, and now the element of unpredictability was tangible. We strained forward in our seats as she swung ever higher and let herself fall, only to be caught my her ankles. The children were enraptured by one of the best aspects of France as far as they are concerned: the cavalier attitude to Health and Safety compared with their own cotton woolly country. "She hasn't got a safety harness. No net! It's fantastic!!"


The audience nodded and grimaced in appreciation, the older folks, especially the men, with the same dreamy expressions with which they greet the scantily-dressed dancing girls on stage at the village fetes. Young children were running around in front of the trapeze. Wine was drunk. It was one of those events, we agreed, that was exactly the kind of spectacle you would hope to find on a summer evening in the South of France. Curiously old-fashioned, with a hint of memorable magic.

 

8 comments:

renilde said...

I applaud Miss Superfly and your pictorial description of this spectacle, i adore this kind of summermagic, x

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

How exciting, and what a treat for the men in the vicinity! ;))

Jane

Marcheline said...

I'll say one thing for her - she's got some fantastic upper arm definition!

There is a definite magic to old world style entertainment. Lets us remember that once, everyone trusted to fate. There were no safety nets, no hair nets, no internets. No fire departments, no ambulances, no one to save the day. Everyone just lived as best they could. And when they could not, they died. Made each day more precious, I think.

P.S. Have you ever seen the movie "Chocolat"? It's got that same feel...

louciao said...

...not to say bizarre. But one could. With a big smile of appreciation on one's face, that is.

Janine@thegoodlifefrance said...

You've got to love these fabulous entertainments in France - it would be awful if we were subjected to the same bubblegum tosh that seems to prevail elsewhere. I went to a summer fete nearby, the "star" refused to carry on singing unless everyone on the village green stopped talking or making any noise - it was hilarious - the stand off went on for several minutes and then his dreadful catterwauling continued...!

MuMuGB said...

How come I never hear of such shows? It looks like you are having a great time! Things are a bit more conventional in London, I have to admit!

aguja said...

Just as a summer evening should be - warmth, wine and slightly bizarre events ... great fun!

Vanessa said...

The French are good at this sort of entertainment. A Jacques Brel imitator once held our village spellbound. He WAS Brel.

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