Ahead of its season at St. Kilda’s Map 57 winter garden, we chat with Scott Maidment, the brains behind the wildly successful LIMBO and BLANC de BLANC productions. With both shows now worldwide events, Maidment brings us up to speed on where BLANC de BLANC is at.
Firstly, a congratulations on the 600th performance of LIMBO. I’ve had the chance to see it a couple of times over the years, and it certain sits among the top of the class. What do you think it is about the show that has given it the success and the longevity that it has enjoyed?
LIMBO is different. It isn’t strictly circus or cabaret or burlesque. It’s the unique mix of multi skilled performers that drives the energy and they provide the backing music along with their extreme talents, and that’s what keeps it interesting.
…and how does the show today compare to the show 600 performances ago?
It’s actually almost 800 by now. The main drive of the show hasn’t changed at all really, however we are always tweaking and refining and coming up with new moments. The audience really is a part of the show and because we have different audience every day it changes the show each time.
We’re here to talk about BLANC de BLANC, your latest show that is about to arrive as part of Melbourne’s MAP 57 programme. Can you tell me a little bit about how this particular show came to fruition, both conceptually and in terms of the performers that became a part of it?
I really liked the sound of the words Blanc de Blanc; I love the onomatopoeia. I made the association between the white wine in champagne and the white face of a clown. The show is based around the effervescent energy of champagne paired with the crazy energy of clowning and circus.
What can those attending a performance of BLANC de BLANC expect?
The evening starts out very sophisticated, you may even think you are in a French cabaret and as it progresses the audience becomes more and more giddy and the performance become more immersive. The audience and performers join in what is ultimately an insane champagne fuelled party.
Like LIMBO before it, BLANC has been enjoying performances all over the world. How did your experiences with LIMBO prepare you for how the show would be received in the different destinations?
I am always scared because I believe in the old show biz adage that you are only as good as your last show. So when I am creating something new I am always super nervous. I am incredibly relieved that the audiences have loved BLANC so much.
How do you think Melbourne audiences compare to those on the West End or even in Adelaide?
I don’t think you can classify a typical Melbourne audience; it’s such a diverse community. Melbournites are cultured and always up for excitement, but they can be very judgmental. They see a lot of shows but one of the things that has been universal with BLANC is that is super fun for everyone who sees it.
How important is it for you to push the boundaries in a show like BLANC de BLANC? And how do you think you’ve achieved that here?
In terms of pushing the boundaries, it’s more about giving the audience an experience that is not your every-day show. They have an experience that is outside of a normal theatre, and the Spiegeltent environment certainly provides that.
What’s next for the show after its run in Melbourne, and do you have any other productions coming up?
BLANC heads to Darwin Festival, LIMBO performs in Amsterdam, Budapest Montreal and Antwerp. We are also creating something top secret for Brisbane Festival, but I can tell you that it will be very colourful and on a very large scale.
BLANC de BLANC comes to MAP 57 in St Kilda from June 15th – July 30th. For more information, visit www.map57com.
Photo by Ben Walsh.