Palpable nostalgia for a time the audience before the audience was born defined a vaudeville show at the Orpheum Theatre this Valentine's Day.
A sterilized relic of Bourbon Street was on display in the Orpheum Theatre on Sunday night. Cupid’s Cabaret featured aerialists, singers, burlesque dancers and a contortionist, all of who gracefully dispatched with layers of clothing mid-performance. The music was mostly contemporary, but it did not detract from the nostalgic aura that swathed the experience. Meanwhile, the renovated Orpheum Theatre suffused a formal integrity that the burlesque dancers playfully subverted.
The nostalgia for a past that the audience never knew was palpable in the theatre. Inspired by the Roaring Twenties, the costumes, dances, and music all created a sensual intrigue that had audience members in silent rapture at one moment, whooping and clapping the next.
The energy was infectious as the show maintained an artistic appeal that felt lighthearted and inclusive. At the same time, in some ways it also felt disinfected. The raunchy essence of the burlesque that used to populate Bourbon Street had been pruned for the Orpheum and for the 21st Century in a way that may have been a disservice to the past. That said, Cupid's Cabaret still offered a relatively salient window into a past the audience had never known, yet judging by their standing ovation, found compelling.