“Rouge: Circus for Grown ups” – Port Douglas Carnivale
14th May 2018
The brand new adult circus cabaret from the creators of Australian sensation Papillon, Rouge is set to take the world by storm and will be showing at the Wonderland Spiegeltent during Port Douglas Carnivale.
Rouge is a decadent blend of sensational acrobatics, operatic cabaret and tongue in cheek burlesque. This is a non-stop celebration of the astonishing, the surprising and the downright sexy, Rouge is a circus for grown ups.
Escape the every day and join Rouge for the most twisted and ridiculous experience you’ll have this year.
FNQ: Hi Paul, understanding you are busy firstly, thanks so much for taking the time out to conduct this Q&A. Lets get straight to it, Rouge is being promoted as a show that is for “grown ups” does this mean there is nudity and or sexual innuendos?
Paul: Thanks for having me! Nudity? Nah nudity is easy, you’ve just gotta take your clothes off and BAM – nudity. But taking one piece of clothing of in such a way that has the audience screaming for the rest to come off – that’s what we’re all about. It’s for grown ups because as a group we’re not just standing on stage presenting what we think sexy is, we’re throwing it out there and seeing what the audience come back with, playing with them, exploring with them. There’s no humiliating the audience, dragging people up on stage to be made a fool of – we’re all about consent in this show. So we might start with an innuendo, maybe a suggestion by way of a cheeky wink, and if that turns into a full pash session with one of us and Dave and Margaret in the front row then bonza.
FNQ: Can you share with our readers the inspiration behind Rouge and why you wanted to be involved?
Paul: Well suit and tie 9-5 never suited me as a lifestyle choice, so the job description of hanging upside down in tight leather pants was a no-brainer. But seriously, the show – from how it was devised to how we present it – is so original and refreshing as a product and as a performer, it’s like I’m not even at work. All the solo acts are our own creation, but then there’s acts that we have created from just our personalities and our playfulness with each other. Unlike other shows where you’re told what to do on stage at any given point, with Rouge our rehearsals go a bit more like: “Hey guys – whips. unicorns. bondage. dance off. Who’s with me?”
FNQ: We’ve noticed that everyone appears to be in impeccable shape, does performing the show on a regular basis maintain this or do you need to work out and fuel your body as if you were an Olympian?
Paul: It’s one of those things where physicality is just a happy bonus result from hard work and dedication, we’re not models so we don’t do this job to achieve a certain physique. Of course people see us on stage performing athletic and acrobatic tricks but 90% it’s in a warehouse or training space somewhere, grinding away through sweat and muscle soreness to nail that last trick. But at the same time it’s not a strict athlete’s camp, far from it – a big part of the diet is gin, hummus, peanut butter, garlic bread and more gin. And much more than visual aesthetic, everyone in the show is so comfortable and in tune with their bodies and how they move and that’s what the audiences really respond to more than the abs. Of which I have 12.
FNQ: We have read some great reviews (Congrats!) from around the country and we want to know what makes the show sooooooo sexy?
Paul: As a performer, I feel sexy on stage because of the people I’m with, and how we act with each other. Some points in the show we may as well just be the six of us in a room with no-one watching – I think it’s that genuine connection and sexual confidence that is so hot for an audience to watch and want to join in with. One lady said to us after a show “I’m so jealous of your orgies” – we were flattered she assumed an orgy was part of our post-show ritual. Add that to the awesome skill level and it’s quite the aphrodisiac cocktail. Fire eating is sexy. But what Chris does to the fire before he eats it… damn girl.
FNQ: Since the original premier on 23rd November 2017 have you had an embarrassing moment, if so what was it?
Paul: You know what, because I’m so excited to leave this Melbourne rain to join you guys, I’ll give you two. First one was during a curtain call, I was walking around the edge of the stage and just walked one foot off the edge. In heels. Bye bye Paul. The other one that I don’t think anyone noticed was during a particularly strenuous move in my aerial routine: I farted super loudly. I’m pretty sure I was flown forward a couple of inches.
FNQ: Did you always know you wanted to be involved in acrobatics/cabaret/burlesque?
Paul: I’ve always been a physical person for sure, I competed in trampoline in London and work as a professional dancer usually, so I sort of bring that to the show but burlesque and cabaret is relatively new to me being introduced to it only a couple of years ago. It’s so free and fun and open to interpretation and hugely tongue in cheek that I could always see myself doing it someday, especially with the comedy element. As someone who trained in Shakespearean acting it’s quite an upbeat relief!
FNQ: What is a day in the life like… of Paul Westbrook on a show day?
Paul: Getting out of bed is always a personal victory. Eating for me is definitely the main one, I really feel it when I haven’t had enough food before a show. Apart from that it depends on the place! Port Douglas will definitely be the beach everyday, source a good book and send regular updates to wintery Melbourne. Whereas Adelaide I waited for everything to open to get a coffee before everything shut again half an hour later.
FNQ: Without giving too much away, how long does Rouge go for and what do you consider being the highlight of the night?
Paul: The show is in two acts with a 15 minute interval so all up it’s 90minutes. There’s a bar in the tent too, with booths and VIP seating options available and then we hang around afterwards for photos and a drink after the show too! For an audience I think the highlights are all the points in the show where they think they’re about to watch something they’ve seen before and then we just flip that bad boy upside down, stick some lipstick on it and go for gold. But if I had to pick one: WHIPS.
FNQ: Have you ever been to Cairns or Port Douglas? What are you looking forward to doing most when you aren’t performing?
Paul: I have! I was here on holiday from the UK when I was 14 (I wasn’t wearing leather pants), and then when I was backpacking in 2014 (I wasn’t wearing any pants). I’m actually going to be here for my birthday so I think it’s for the best I jump out of a plane. With a parachute of course – perhaps in leather pants/no pants.
FNQ: As you are no doubt aware, FNQ Magazine is an LGBTQI travel magazine, why do you think our readers will enjoy the show?
Paul: So many shows out there are unfortunately stuck in a structure that usually has big men looking manly throwing around petite women looking dainty with no real thought to mixing things up. Rouge and everyone in it is so unbelievably non-binary, sexually open and ambiguous at the same time and completely, refreshingly non-stereotypical – I feel it’s what a lot of performance is missing and what we’re aiming to bring about through change.
FNQ: Last question, we are giving 3 lucky winners double passes to the show. We are pretty sure they will want to know if they are going to be at risk of being embarrassed or called up on stage for stunt participation?
Paul: There is some audience participation, but as all decent humans know, consent is not only key but consent is sexy. We never drag people up against their will, never make them do anything physically dangerous but most importantly never make them do anything that is humiliating. We’re inviting you all to be a part of our world and that world changes every night as the audience does. But if you really don’t want the possibility of being asked on stage, don’t sit in the front row!
Thanks again Paul, good-luck with the show in Port Douglas.
Entries have now closed for our double passes competition. The lucky winners are:
Vikki Whelan, Claire Keen and Chris Voltz – Congratulations!
Tickets to Rouge are still available here: www.wonderlandspiegeltent.com.au
Friday May 18, Saturday May 19, Sunday May 20, Wednesday May 23 – 7:00pm Friday May 25 – 8:00pm Saturday May 26 – 4:00pm + 8:30pm Sunday May 27 – 5:00pm + 7:30pm.