I’ve apparently developed a bit of a soft spot for the Palais des Sports after my previous experience and I was rather pleased to be back. It also helped that I think I got a bit of a minor upgrade on my ticket for Adam et Eve La Seconde Chance, as there seemed to be plenty of unused seats off to the side and I’m sure that’s where I was meant to be. I was still in the circle bit but it was a reasonably front on view and it was actually rather good (especially after Shrek) with no restrictions, it was just a fair distance from the stage. I could’ve done with my/my mum’s opera glasses, though.
The evening started off badly in that (other than a one off trailer for 1789 Les Amants de la Bastille – which I missed anyway thanks to taking photos of lego!Harry and Draco) they were pointing cameras at random couples in the audience with ‘Adam et Eve?’ written above them and then asking them to kiss – similar to what they show in movies during sporting events in America. For someone in a sulky ‘it’s Valentine’s and I’m in the city of lurve on me lonesome’ mood, it was kinda annoying! It improved slightly when a random stir went through the audience and people who I believe were the creator (Pascal Obispo) and choreographer (Tokyo) arrived in the audience.
Then the show started and everything changed. This was no Shrek, it was another Dracula through and through. It was big and spectacular and I loved it. The first couple of big numbers were ones I was already familiar with, which I think helped me engage with the show early on and I liked having random tracks put into context (especially Les Meilleurs). Unfortunately my iPod battery was dead when I went to listen to it during the day though, so I was less mentally prepared than I’d intended to be (at least I hope it just needs charging. The first two times I turned it on, the battery was showing almost full, but it died immediately the first time and after three tracks the second. Only on the third turning on attempt did it actually say there was no battery. Will charge it when I get in and see what happens. Bit worried it’s a result of the headphone jack fix though, especially as I was pretty sure the battery was nearly full when I left home…), but I still enjoyed it all.
There was actually a surprising amount of English dotted throughout some of the songs and one was even completely in English. I liked the bits, but not so much the whole thing. It loses the magic a little when you can understand the lyrics, especially in a love ballad – far more romantic in French! I think I managed to pretty much get the gist of what was going on though and the random English bits definitely helped. (I’m not sure I would’ve quite got the pole-dancing bit Lilith did in the first act otherwise… not that I quite ‘got’ it anyway. I mean, really?! Wasn’t she meant to be like the princess? And stunning and a great catch ‘n’ all? Why did she even need to try to win Adam over, especially given that her father didn’t exactly seem the type to allow Adam to choose anyone else? Perhaps it was something that got lost in lack of translation. In retrospect I suppose she did need to win him, though pole-dancing didn’t seem to be the way to his heart after all…)
Before I get ahead of myself, I’ll give a brief rundown of the plot as I saw it, based on visuals, bits of lyrics and the google translated synopsis I read when I booked the ticket. There will be spoilers in this, so I’ve whited out the full text for safety…
Adam is chief of something or other (the best of the best? Assuming I translated ‘meilleur’ correctly…) in a world order (a place called Eden) controlled by Solus. He’s a tad on the dictatorish side and has one daughter called Lilith. She and Adam are due to be married. Then some rag-tag bunch of rebels lead by Snake and Eve bust in and fight a bit before vanishing, but not before Adam and Eve literally bump into each other and sparks fly (literally again, courtesy of totally cheesy dramatic lightning bolts on the screen at the back of the stage). Adam goes in search of Eve, discovers their hippie world on ‘The Other Side’ and decides to join them. Something happens that I didn’t quite follow and Solus’ people capture Eve (even though she’s in bed with Adam at the time and he remains with the hippies unscathed?! Unless the bed was just a seductive metaphor ). Anyhoo, act two begins with Eve being tortured by Lilith until Adam, Snake and the rest launch an attack (thereby ending my mental hippie comparison since they’re not exactly inkeeping with the hippie pacifist theme). They fight, the good guys win, Eve is rescued and the show continues for a bit for no apparent reason until all the songs have been sung and there’s a big Happily Ever After party/encore. There’s also a character called Strawberry – Merlin knows why she’s called that, or why it’s in English, but there you have it. I think she’s just meant to be a friend of Eve’s. The other main dude seemed to be a hippie guitarist who randomly appears, but could possibly be considered the narrator? Maybe? He starts and ends the show anyhoo.
The Snake character reminded me sooo much of Berger. It started off just because he has long dark wavy hair, a suedey waistcoat and a tanned six-pack on show, but then when I saw him in action the parallels grew even more. He’s a sort of leader of a raggedy bunch of rebels and doesn’t seem to take anything very seriously, constantly bouncing around the stage. He also seemed to have an arrogance that reminded me a lot of Berger. I had the benefit(?) of being far enough away that I couldn’t really make out facial features so he was more attractive in my head than I think the actor actually is. Same went for Adam, actually, who I think of more as Florent Torres in my mind .
The dancing was phenomenal. There was breakdancing and ballet as well as proper big musical theatre routines. They even had a pirouetting guy at one point and if you’ve read some of my ballet reviews you’ll know how much I adore that. They also seem very keen on aerialists in these things and there were loads of them in this. I really did enjoy the choreography throughout and it was probably one of the highlights. The costumes were fabulous as well, particularly Lillith’s black dress and the hippie gear! I saw a few photos of on stage rehearsals on twitter before the show opened and I wasn’t overly impressed, but in actuality it was a spectacular set which did a fabulous job of combining the woodsy, natural aspects of L’Autre Cote with the metallic, futuristic Eden. It was one stage and one set, but it just worked.
Anyhoo, I was rather excited at the end when there was a little closing speech and I understood it – all of it! It was very satisfying, even if it was pretty straight forward and simple (It’s a new day, a new world, blah de blah de cheeeese ). That said, I still don’t really get the Adam and Eve reference, in biblical terms, I mean. Perhaps I missing something (highly probable given the language barrier), but Eden was meant to be a paradise that it was bad to be expelled from. I suppose it’s still Eve that tempts Adam away in the end, but I’m pretty sure there were no apples and Snake seemed a bit random and unrelated to the his biblical counterpart…? Anyhoo, that’s all by the by. It’s a fabulous show anyway!
They ended the actual show with Ma Bataille which started off slow and acousticy then burst into life, which provided the best of both worlds. I really enjoyed it and I was glad they left it ‘til the end as it left me with something I knew well to look forward to. The encore was Rien Ne Se Finit which I found sort of odd since it was released as a single yet not actually in the show proper, but it was fun and I was glad I could sing along. It meant the show closed on a massive high for me which was fabulous after the strong start.
The cast were superb too. The singers danced a lot of the routines, which I always respect and their voices were fabulous. I loved Snake, who was played by Nuno Resende (yes, because of the Berger thing, but also) because he had so much energy. Adam and Eve (Thierry Amiel and Cylia respectively) were both a bit too perfect hero/heroine-esque for me, but their vocals were brilliant. Noemie Garcia played Strawberry and no matter how random her character was, she had some lovely songs and a gorgeous voice. I thought Solal was brilliant as Solus, especially when he came out at the stage door at the end and was the total opposite of the nasty leader he played in the show. Liza Pastor was spectacular as Lilith if for no other reason than she really knows how to use a pole! She was spell binding on it and she was singing through half of it too!
My only criticism in fact was that it was freezing cold in the arena! Except it was so cold outside as well that I didn’t dare do more than put my coat over my knees or I knew it would hit hard when I left at the end. This ‘inside’ business really hasn’t been working out for me. The flat is freezing and after seven hours of wandering in icy temperatures I was really looking forward to some warmth for a bit. It was better than being outside, true, but not by much. Needless to say, I was rather thankful for my new M&S socks and also sorta wished I’d bought that Morgan poncho after all (see Harry and Draco’s blog for an explanation on that)!
I’ll admit the temptation to skip the stage door and just go back to the (theoretical) warmth of the flat (via the Louvre for some night photography, of course… which was another failure, though that’s also covered in Harry and Draco’s blog) was strong, but I thought I’d regret it if I didn’t. Especially since I actually had a programme for this unlike some shows I could mention *cough*Shrek*cough*.
In the end I was glad I stayed despite the freezing temperatures. I got there early enough that there was plenty of space at the barrier and once others arrived it was a little warmer. I successfully managed photos and autographs with the full named cast except the Nuno Resende as he’d left early. I was a bit gutted by that, but on the plus I did get the front of the programme signed by Pascal Obispo so that was kinda awesome. Not bad going really! I also tried to grab Thierry Amiel again at the end for a photo with Harry & Draco but I was a bit unsure of how to pronounce his name so I called after him rather quietly and he didn’t seem to hear me. Maybe next time…!
Solal who played Solus was also rather fun. He seemed like a lovely guy and when he came out twice because the cheer the first time wasn’t big enough. He then shouted ‘Qui etes-vous?’ expecting and sort of getting the response of ‘les meilleurs’. He later got a sing song going, but after a rendition of the chorus of Rien Ne Se Finit he decided that was too overdone and we should do something else instead. They sang C’est Bientot La Fin after that from Mozart which was kinda cool (though I suppose it makes sense given that I’m pretty sure he was in that too!)
Aaaaaaaanyhoo, that was a bit longer than I’d intended so I’ll sign off now. I’m still planning on seeing Mamma Mia tomorrow all being well, so I’ll be back then and you can also look forward to Harry & Draco’s photo blog which should be published sometime in the next year or so. I’m aware I’ve still not published the last one or the Dracula review…
Peace, loVe loVe and happiness,
PS. Amusingly, I woke up with I’ve Always Been A Morning Person from Shrek stuck in my head and was humming it in the shower… after it took me 45 minutes to crawl out of bed. And trust me when I say I have NEVER been a morning person. Even when I have a fabulous reason to get up, it’s still a wrench and I can’t help wishing I had another hour or two under the covers!