The show’s complete reinvention of circus, cabaret, variety and burlesque for the 21st century is a truly remarkable sight under the equally impressive canopy of a 700-seat antique spiegeltent, decked-out with bevelled mirrors, velvet-upholstered seats and speak-easy style bar.
Russian contortionist Elena Lev-Bakkar, aka Miss A in a Bubble, is no stranger to the travelling circus life, in fact, it is a family tradition.
Her mother was a gymnast and started training Lev-Bakkar in rhythmic gymnastics from the age of five.
While it was her father’s career as an acrobatic that took the young Lev-Bakkar from performing her hula hoops act in the Moscow Circus to Cirque du Soleil.
Lev-Bakkar’s husband is also an acrobat and she now trains her eight-year-old daughter, Varvara.
‘Although she’s interested in a lot of different things right now, so it will be totally up to her if she wants to continue,’ Lev-Bakkar said.
The performer said EMPIRE combined different acts from all over the world, making it a 90-minute theatrobatic adventure.
‘It’s funny, sexy and altogether just a wonderful night out for people,’ she said.
‘I have two acts in the show. The first is my bubble act, which involves a 100kg giant bubble that I do contortion inside, some hula hoop and then hang out of with a lot of bubbles.
‘Then my hula hoops act is a little like my original I used to do, but a bit sexier.’
The ‘bubble’ is made from the windows of a submarine, with two plexiglass halves joined together and suspended half way up to the top of the spiegeltent, which Lev-Bakkar said offered a different kind of environment than a normal circus tent or theatre.
‘The stage is very small so we’re able to get up close to the audience which brings them a unique experience,’ she said.