‘The Empire Strips Back: A Star Wars Parody’ Lives up to the Hype

The Empire Strips Back is one of the most sought-after tickets in Ottawa, and after seeing it, the hype is real.

The show mixes one of the great cinematic franchises, Star Wars, with the art of burlesque. C3PO and burlesque? It sounds odd, but it works.

The show doesn’t make fun of Star Wars but leans into it. The dancers assume several of the characters from the series, such as Princess Leia, Stormtroopers, and Han Solo, to name a few. It incorporates different moments from the franchise, sets them to current popular music, and tops it off with some exceptional burlesque choreography.

Burlesque is a beautifully choreographed piece of art portrayed through dance. There is some topless nudity, but it’s not presented scandalously but tastefully.

From the first number, you realize these dancers are incredibly talented. While their hard work is evident, they make it look effortless.

Carleton University’s Kailash Mital Theatre served as the backdrop for the event. Based on overwhelming ticket sales, it could have been held at a larger venue, but the theatre made for a more intimate setting.

In addition to the male and female dancers, a master of ceremonies (MC) helped move the show along. He did a very good job of keeping the crowd engaged, not that they needed a lot of prompting, while the stagehands changed the sets. A lot of his jokes worked, but some didn’t. Comedy is subjective, so that shouldn’t be a deterrent.

The Empire Strips Back appeals to a wide demographic. The audience included hardcore fans of Star Wars and those who have never seen one frame of any of the movies. There were also supporters of the burlesque movement, and this group was well-represented at the show.

The sets were a big part of the performances. Any fan of the series will be impressed with the production design. Without spoiling anything, when the curtain rises, fans of the series will be in awe.

The Empire Strips Back: A Star Wars Parody is a well-crafted show that merges the best of two different worlds. It is clear that the show is created by individuals who are not only fans of the series—which is evident with each act—but also connoisseurs of burlesque.

Burlesque and Star Wars may be one of the best pairings since chocolate and almonds!

Grade: B+

PHOTO: The Los Angeles cast of The Empire Strips Back: A Burlesque Parody. (Photo: Craig Ridgwell)