Thursday, August 29, 2013

“Va Va Carnivale” — A thrill a minute, however you spell it!

Bethan Kannapell in Va Va Carnevale.
Photo – Gary Quick Photography.

Va Va Carnevale
Produced by Lisa Fry

Review by A.S. Waterman

Entire contents copyright © 2013 A.S. Waterman. All rights reserved.

I wasn’t sure whether the name represented “carnevale” (a masqued and costumed revel, usually associated with Lent or fundraisers) or “carnival” (a traveling entertainment venue). From the name “Va Va Vixens,” I expected to see a type of show that, well, normally isn’t my cup of tea.

I couldn’t have been more wrong, or more impressed.

The show is perhaps more “Burlesque meets Cirque du Soleil,” although even that description falls far short. This thrill-packed evening features daredevil acrobatics, amazing costumes, intricate dancing, intriguing sketches and outstanding vocals, as well as recurring characters who win our hearts. Surprises are non-stop, and the evening remains fast-paced despite its three hours’ running time. In addition to the dark and sophisticated masquerie of carnevale, the carnival aspect delights throughout, with a stilt-walker, strong-woman, mime/clown and “freak” animal-human combinations, all strolling among the audience when not on stage, allowing everyone to see firsthand how much creativity and detail went into this production. The large cast, consisting of lovely young women and two very attractive young men, does an outstanding job with nary a weak spot in the bunch.

To quibble, an earlier start time might have allowed more people to see it all, and I would have liked a printed program so that I could credit the choreographer, writers and performers by name. However, since the production was so carefully crafted, I have to assume that these decisions were made for a reason.

Yes, the name “Va Va Vixens” is accurate, and the R-rated sexuality is prominent; but so is amazing talent, skill, grace and art — and it is beautiful. But like a carnival, it’s here and then it’s gone.

See it, and catch this moment before it becomes just a memory.

Va Va Carnevale

Aug. 22, 23, 24, 30 & 31
Headliners Music Hall
1386 Lexington Road
Louisville, KY 40206

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8.
Tickets $20/VIP $30
For ticket purchase, contact Headliners Music Hall at 502.584.8088 or online at

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