It’s time to leave your inhibitions at the door and check-in for a night of theatrical frivolities as Sydney Opera House is transformed into an opulent French hotel lobby dripping in old-world glamour. L’Hôtel is an immersive experience full of intrigue that will leave you wanting more.
L’Hôtel (directed by Craig Ilott and co-created by Stuart Couzens) is a combination of cabaret, circus, and a touch of burlesque with French finery, luxury, and sensuousness. The immersive experience begins as Maitre D’ and Proprietor Martelle Hammer greets every patron before a wait staff ushers them to a table. Guests get a glimpse of the characters as they weave and wade between and behind the lobby tables.
This is the domain for the people-watcher. We see performers engage in their own little stories. There’s the presence of the hotel’s maintenance man poking around the foyer, the concierge is busy organising staff, while the hotel owner peruses the lobby talking to guests as though they were long-time friends. A complementary glass of G.H. Mumm Champagne and a selection of fine French food is served by the wait staff. The actors flitter about as the guests dine amongst the action. However, if this is not your style, the mezzanine offers guests Le Voyeur seating, where you can observe the happenings below from the safety above.
The anticipation builds as we see before us a lavish set. It’s a dazzling two-story hotel, with rooms lining the top and on the bottom level a spa bath area on the left, concierge desk in the middle, and a piano on the right. A circular platform covered with food, champagne and a gorgeous floral arrangement is at the heart of the floor. A space that later becomes a stage.
Parisian-based jazz singer Caroline Nin starts to sing. The chatter of everyone seems as though it’s part of the theatre experience. French funk tunes fill the air as the waiters – ours was in the middle of pouring a glass of champagne – burst into perfectly choreographed moves before returning to the attention of their guests.
The waiters sweep the room and remove the mood-lighting ready for the first character to take centre stage. Belgium specialist in juggling and manipulation Florian Brooks enthralled the audience with his skill. With audible ooh’s and aah’s from the audience he balances and juggles a top hat, champagne flutes and bottles. Bri Emrich and CJ Shuttleworth demonstrated incredible feats of strength. While American dancer, choreographer and pole artist Bentley Rebel won the applause for his effortlessly performance.
Aerialist Beau Sargent played a lazy worker who won my heart with his unenthusiastic whistle blowing. Only to captivate the room with his beautiful mid-air acrobatics which paired perfectly with the vocals of Brendan Maclean.
However, Russian contemporary circus artist Masha Terentieva stole the show. The Cirque du Soleil alumna brought her designed and franchised aerial hotel cart performance to the L’Hôtel lobby. The audience sat in awe. Terentiva artistically contorted herself in, around, and through the concierge cart as it spun suspended in the air. It was magical and truly mesmerising.
L’Hôtel is an ambitious French kiss. There’s something charming about performers from around the world coming together as though they were travellers meeting in a hotel lobby. The sultry singers, graceful acts and risqué performances are jaw-dropping and contain an expected level of nudity. It’s provocative and decadent. And while you can’t stay for the night, L’Hôtel will indulge and captivate you with its saucy French flair.
– Antoinette Milienos
Antoinette is a Journalist, Violinist, and chronic suffer of F.O.M.O (fear of missing out).
L’Hôtel runs for 80 minutes and plays at The Sydney Opera House through to November 13, 2022. Buy tickets now. The venue is accessible.