Enjoy a saucy evening in a cosy Parisian bar, as exotic, aging - and irresistible - BIJOU and her wonderful pianist spin a musical tale. Fresh from critical success in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, and regional touring, Chrissie Shaw is Bijou, Alan Hicks is Alain the bar pianist.
Paris, 1933. Bijou enters a low-lit bar ready to regale the regulars with her scandalous tales and lurid palm readings. Her glory days are gone, but she still basks in the glow. This bubble is burst when she notices an unflattering photo of herself on the wall. Who is this ‘Nightmare from Baudelaire’, in tatty fur and fake pearls? Insulted, she launches into a wild recounting of her life, a tale of a tasty tale of love, lust and loss. We are transported to the crazy twenties, an imaginative brothel, a Prussian palace, a naked tableau at Les Varietees, and into the dark places of her childhood. The bar pianist is giving us some wonderful French music, backing Bijou as she bursts into song, and humouring her as he takes on the roles of some of the men in her life. A musical, theatrical feast; music of Satie, Weill, Lenoir, Hollaender, Bruant, Saint-Saens, Debussy, Poulenc, Milhaud.
- Venue Format
- Theatre, Hall, Black Box Venue
- Technical Rating
- Touring Party
- Two performers, one crew
Performance is not suitable for under 16s, as it has adult content. BIJOU can be adapted to most venues but is not suitable for a high stage. Maximum stage height 1.2 metres with treads for access into audience. It has been performed in a theatre on the floor level with some cabaret tables in front of raked seating. Company has a set of 6 cabaret tables and 24 chairs in case a venue cannot supply these. Company can tour with a set of lighting equipment adequate for the show.
If possible, company requires a tuned piano on stage or in the venue, BUT we can tour with an electric piano if an acoustic piano is not available. "Bijou" makes her entrance through audience entrance so access from dressing room to foyer is a plus.
NB: SmallShows is also submitting a children's show Gran's Bag, which can tour concurrently with BIJOU.
SmallShows encompasses the independent work of Canberra-based performing artist, writer and producer Chrissie Shaw. Since 1991, Chrissie has produced eight original plays, in collaboration with other producers and artists, all initially funded by artsACT, most touring interstate. These are: About Face (by Merrilee Moss, directed by Tessa Bremner) Footprints on the Wind (by Chrissie Shaw, directed by Camilla Blunden) A Sweeter Fern – That’s Red! (by Chrissie Shaw and Lynne Ellis, directed by Lynne Ellis) Drumming on Water (by Geoff Page, directed by Kate Gaul) Flotsam and Jetsam (by Greg Lissaman, songs by Chrissie Shaw, directed by Catherine Roach). The Keeper (by Chrissie Shaw and Penelope Bartlau, directed by Penelope Bartlau) Gran’s Bag (for children, written and directed by Greg Lissaman). Bijou – A Cabaret of Secrets and Seduction by Chrissie Shaw, Directed by Susan Pilbeam. ACT Critics Circle and Green Room Awards.
Chrissie has worked as a freelance actor and musician in Sydney, Adelaide, and Canberra, with Pipi Storm, Vitalstatistix, The Canberra Theatre Company, Women On A Shoestring, Jigsaw Theatre Company, and The Street Theatre. Chrissie is a partner in A Bunch of Posers musical duo, and conducts community choirs. Awards include several Green Room and Critics Circle awards.
- Company Website
Unique Selling Point
BIJOU is a play disguised as a cabaret, with the entertaining element of the music, and the emotional journey of a good narrative. Audiences have commented on the show's ability to take them into another reality; they have been carried back in time and to another place altogether. The audience is immersed in the action as they are actually the 'other regulars' in the bar, the setup being cabaret tables and chairs where possible. Chrissie is an older performer, belying the myth that sensuality and energy are the domain of the young. Older people are inspired, young people are amazed!
• Design elements for poster/fliers/e-flyers • Videos: Trailer, whole show. • Outline of target audience demographic and points to be used in marketing • Marketing Pack • High Res photos • Media releases, different length, different focus (eg, writing community, music community, dance community, older audience, French language audience)
BIJOU has toured extensively to small regional towns in NSW. Many of these communities were involved in decorating their venue as a Parisian Bar in the 1930s, and audiences were encouraged to come to the show in costume. Some communities turned the evening into a dinner/show; people brought their own provisions or meals were provided, drinks sold. The show requires, if possible, a fully functional bar, an opportunity for community fund-raising.
The story is of a strong and feisty older woman, played by an older woman, and older audience members are left with a feeling of inspiration and encouragement, younger audience members are left with an enhanced perception of age, a breaking down of stereotype and so are likewise surprised and inspired.
The music in the show is of the highest quality, leaving people with a glow of recognition and appreciation at hearing a rich choice of music played by a world-class virtuosic pianist.
Alan Hicks is a highly skilled accompanist and vocal coach, working in the Opera Unit at the NSW Conservatorium, and accompanying many world-class soloist performers. He also directs the University of Canberra Chorale and is available on tour to conduct vocal workshops with local choirs.