A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…to be more precise 7 years ago in Sydney, Russall S. Beattie concocted the idea of meshing Star Wars and burlesque together to create a truly unique experience. The first show was held in a 150-capacity room with the expectation that the show would be held for three nights. Those three nights sold out in record time and since then the show has sky-rocketed, with over 50,000 people attending the production.
When first asked to attend the show, I had no idea what to expect. In my mind, the words “Star Wars” and “sexy” didn’t seem to fit in the same sentence, but after the show I was proven wrong. This was an experience like no other and nothing could have prepared me for what was to come once the curtains were raised.
The Empire Strips Back takes the classic characters from the Star Wars films and puts them into the world of burlesque. With a modernised soundtrack and beautiful chorography, the cast embodied their characters in way that was both tantalising and compelling, to the point where you were unable to look at away due to such intrigue.
A group of racy Stormtroopers, the seductive Boba Fett and some tantalising Twi’leks were just some of the many fascinating characters displayed throughout the production. These characters, portrayed by beautiful and confident dancers, created an atmosphere that resonated through the Canberra Theatre Centre.
Initially many of us were unsure of what to expect, but by the end of the night everyone in the crowd was up on their feet cheering. The girls and guys on the stage (both dancers and host) were so confident and empowering it swept through the audience and gave everyone a sense of incredible hype – we were all in awe.
Whether you are a Star Wars fanatic or someone who has never seen the films this is a truly amazing experience. It is entertaining, flirty and totally enjoyable. The cast are incredible and play their roles with such flair it’s hard to take your eyes off of them. All-in-all, this production is seductive, attention-grabbing and leaves you feeling slightly euphoric.
I also had the pleasure of meeting the cast after the show and asked them a few questions:
What is it like performing such a unique show in front of an audience?
The show has the potential to unlock things within our audience that they themselves didn’t even know. When we perform up on stage we encourage the crowd to get involved and it creates a flow-on effect that makes us feel confident and strong – which allows us to perform a great show. This show is unlike anything else and performing in it is so much fun but we want the crowd to enjoy themselves and not take this production too seriously.
Do you need to be a Star Wars fan to enjoy the show?
No way! This show can be enjoyed by everyone as it is a really great piece of art and showcases the incredible talent [of the performers]. Of course, you may understand certain references more if you have seen the films but the beauty of the dancing and the intricacy of the costumes makes this performance enjoyable for all.