Theater Review

A hot new ‘Orchid’ blooms in Miami

 

A beauty goes from heaven to hell and back in a 21st century burlesque.

If you go

What: ‘Orchid’

Where: Pleasure Garden at 299 NE 38th St., Miami

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday, through Jan. 6 (must be 16 or older to attend)

Cost: $49-$119; prix-fixe dinner $38

Contact: 1-888-589-8934, www.orchidtheshow.com


cdolen@MiamiHerald.com

On a once-deserted lot at Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 38th Street in Miami, a “garden” devoted to the pleasures of the senses has bloomed.

The Pleasure Garden isn’t really a garden at all. It’s a pop-up venue with an open-to-the-sky courtyard, large white latticework “flowers” by designer Luis Pons, and a beautiful pair of antique Belgian Spiegeltents, one devoted to a prix-fixe menu by celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein, the other home of a new show called Orchid.

Orchid is the culmination of a dream for producers David Schwarz and Martin LaSalle, an idea fertilized by creativity, talent and, obviously, lots of money. The show is 21st century burlesque with a theatrical plot, a living music “video” performed by actor-athletes with beautiful bodies and strong voices. Director William Baker has worked with Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears and other music stars, and he clearly knows how to create provocative stage imagery.

The Orchid script, a collaborative effort by Baker and vocal arranger Terry Ronald, cribs from the biblical Garden of Eden story. A godlike Master Gardener (Richard E. Waits) creates an array of gorgeous flowers — Venus Mantrap (Melany Centeno), Poison Ivy (Milena Hale), Tiger Lily (Kasey Walker), Honeysuckle Rose (Eva Kosmos) — blooming beauties later joined by Iris (Irina Naumenko) and the master’s greatest creation, the stunning Orchid (Lexy Romano). Paradise doesn’t last long, though, as the evil Bee Keeper (Patrick Ortiz) sets about having his bees (Marshall Jarreau, Nick Beyeler, Fernando Miro and King Bee Hampus Jansson) “pollinate” the flowers in a carefully choreographed faux orgy. Orchid is eventually cast out, left to fend for herself in a world both androgynous and sex-crazed. Redemption and a reclamation of purity lie at the end of Orchid’s rough journey, if you can count as “pure” dancers in ultra-skimpy white costumes with tasseled pasties.

In truth, the Orchid story, intoned by shirtless narrator Matthew Oaks, is the weakest part of the show. Though it links the musical, dance and circus numbers, it comes off as labored. Everything else about Orchid — the design, costumes, aerial work, recorded and live music, sound, lighting, choreography and performances — is much, much better and hotter.

“Eclectic” doesn’t begin to describe the show’s song choices. Orchid offers up Madonna ( Like a Virgin, Justify My Love), Rihanna ( Umbrella), DeBarge ( Rhythm of the Night), Space ( Female of the Species), Dolly Parton ( 9 to 5), Cole Porter ( Down in the Depths), Jerry Ross and Richard Adler ( Whatever Lola Wants), Fats Waller ( Honeysuckle Rose) and more. Waits, Romano, Kosmos and Ortiz are the key singers, and all have strong rock or pop voices that turn their solos into highlights.

The burlesque/circus elements are just as impressive. A firecracker of a fire eater, a performer who calls herself Kitty Bang Bang, actually sets the tassels on her pasties on fire — now that’s hot. Contortionist Naumenko is elegantly sexy as she twists her slender body into impossible positions. Jansson and his fellow aerialists use silks to fly, ascend, descend and hover. Real bees should only wish they were as sculpted as these guys.

No one under 18 is admitted to Orchid, and there’s a reason for that. While the performers technically remained clothed (if pasties and g-strings count as clothing), the show is proudly and persistently erotic. Not that anyone in the attentive, appreciative crowd is complaining about the hothouse horticulture of this Miami-grown Orchid.

Read more Performing Arts stories from the Miami Herald

  • classical music

    Classical review: New World Symphony does a lively 18 Musicians by Reich

    The New World Symphony’s Percussion Consort presented American composer Steve Reich’s iconic Music for 18 Musicians Saturday night, attracting a festive, all-ages crowd for this one-hour, high-energy show.

  • classical music

    Classical review: Dranoff Foundation does another enterprising two-piano program

    The Dranoff Foundation’s enterprising concert programs have admirably highlighted rarely heard two-piano repertoire, and Saturday night's “Jazz Squared” concert at the South Miami Dade Cultural Center in Cutler Bay was no exception. Duo Stephanie and Saar traversed a menu of jazz-infused works with fine technique and musicality. Still, it’s clear that the husband-and-wife team of Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia are classicists at heart, and their strongest performances were in music of Chopin and Beethoven.

  •  
Miami based artist Juana Meneses, left, and Leila Leder Kremer are the creators of “Home "HOME: BEYOND GEOGRAPHY", which is a participatory writing art project which shares personal histories and memories of South Florida on Thursday April 10, 2014

    O, Miami Poetry Festival

    ‘Home: Beyond Geography’ explores immigrants’ stories about coming to Miami

    Two visual artists are asking immigrants to share their experiences about coming to Miami by taking part in a participatory writing project that in part explores the concept of identity.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category