As you probably know, Ning & I were the first Singapore artists to be booked to perform on Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde. This is a famed 14-year running TV show that is one of the most-watched French TV programs. The best acts in the world are booked for the show and we are honoured to have been invited.
We were booked for a special episode that will air on New Year’s Eve on Ch 2 in France and on TV5 on all international cable channels. The episode is expected to be watched by 60 million people in its first airing.
Ning, Ade & I arrived in Paris on 6 Dec 2011 and actually got to spend the day sightseeing in Paris. We were recognized by fellow Singaporeans when we were touring Notre Dame…lol!
I was so happy to be able to meet up with long-time friend Jean-luc Bertrand. I first got to know him in 1999 when he was in Singapore for a few months. He worked several close-up gigs including Bar None at the Marriott Hotel. We have kept in touch over the years but I never expected that I would be able to see him in his home city! So, we had the pleasure of having dinner in cozy little restaurant with his lovely wife, Maria, and him. We had a great time chatting, catching up and just have good-old fun!
The next day was a partial work day where we headed over to the TV theatre studio where Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde is taped. The theatre is situated in a studio compound in Noisy Le Grand just outside of Paris. We were met by production crew the moment we were driven to the theatre. We were updated on production schedules and all vital administrative information that showed the professionalism of the show.
Our dressing rooms were next to Magic Unlimted from Holland, Oscar, Renzo and Mara. It was great getting to know them and hang out.
Juan Mayoral and Huang Zheng whom I both met in a magic festival in Bangladesh in 2005 were also at the show! Juan presented his FISM act and Huang Zheng accompanied him for this trip but did not perform. She does a beautiful Zhang Yi mo-inspired card manipulation act and has performed on Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde before. It was great seeing both of them again.
This episode features 22 acts from different countries and artistes include magicians, illusionists, dance troupes, acrobats, dogs and even two sea lions! I think that the backstage of the show is just like a United Nations meeting with people from all over the world in one small confined space.
After the initial administrative issues were settled, we set-up our illusion that had been shipped from Singapore earlier last week and prepared for our two rehearsals. We were booked to present our “360 Sawing” illusion and we developed a new presentation just for this TV show. It has got some nice new theatrical elements to the performance that just makes it even better. Rehearsals went without a hitch and we got the rest of the day off for more R & R.
We returned the next morning at 1030am for what would be a very long day. (We ended the day at 1am that night… or next morning).
Here we are in the “back-backstage” of the TV theatre where Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde is taped in front of a life audience. This is the “back-backstage” as it is outside the actual filming studio and all the large props used for different artistes are set-up/ stored here. The doors marked B1 open up to the theatre studio.
Here we are partially set-up with our “360 Sawing” illusion with Ning in her new costume!
We later moved the fully set-up illusion to the actual backstage of the theatre studio, one act before our turn.
Here’s a shot of the ramp leading up to the main stage.
This is a shot of the theatre from the main stage without theatrical lighting.
Our actual performance in front of the live audience went perfectly and got a huge response. We were pleasantly shocked when we received a standing ovation before we even ended the performance. Typically, good acts are rewarded at the end of their performance with a standing ovation. However, based on dozens of acts I have seen online on the show, I never saw anyone get a standing O before they finished their act… and we had 15 seconds to go!
But what really thrilled us was when we were told separately by the backstage manager, first director and talent agent that our “360 Sawing” performance was very fresh and original! They backed it up by reminding us they have been working on the show for its entire 14-year run and had watched over 1000 variety acts! Based on our performance, there is a very good chance we are returning to France next year. Thank you! 🙂
The ENTIRE production crew was a pleasure and joy to work with and is the most professional show/ TV team we have worked with in the world. From the backstage managers, hair/ make-up artists, crew, international talent agents to directors, every one was a world-class pro in what they do. Most have been with the show since its inception so this is a very well-oiled machine. Here are some shots with the team that makes the magic happen on stage and on TV.
Our short trip to France was very successful and productive and we are looking forward to returning to the show next year with a brand new illusion!