Beyond

This musical extravaganza, conceived and directed by Aurelien Roulin, is described as a cross between French cabaret and Cirque du Soleil, but what it's really reminiscent of is the old Folies Bergère, or Las Vegas without the bared bosoms. Like the Folies, it features banks of stairs that the showgirls can saunter down in their minimal costumes, adorned with maximum feathers and glitz, and sometimes escorted by lads in loincloths. Also like the old French show, there's audience participation, in which two sheepish men from the audience are led onstage and decked out in preposterous drag. The show has 17 performers, six choreographers, a stilt-walker, a unicyclist, a bit of boogie-woogie, and exotic numbers evoking many nations: Japan, Africa, France and India, represented by "The Forbidden Temple," a Bollywood-style spectacle, choreographed by Kavita Rao. A mix of Edith Piaf songs is stylishly delivered by Ripley Rader, a couple of mildly erotic aerial sequences are performed by scantily clad Roulin and Sunny Soriano, and there's an impressive toe-dancing contortionist, Ganchimeg Oyunchimeg. But the greatest excitement is unleashed when the dancers cut loose, particularly in the frenzied cancan finale. In short, there's plenty of flash, flesh and fantasy, suitably toned down for a family audience. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood; Tues.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 3 p.m., through August 1. (818) 508-4200, (866) 811-4111, elportaltheatre.com.
Thu., July 1, 8:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8:30 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: July 1. Continues through July 25, 2010


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