A little while ago I was contacted by the team behind Duchess Carpathia Bouffray to review their series of musical movies. The first of which was Alternative FAQs which was a chaotic exploration of some of the most unique questions that the Duchess is asked online while also touching on the madness that being lock-downed can cause. My full thoughts on this short film are available at https://rhysreviews.com/2021/08/21/alternative-faqs-recording-review/ and now it’s time for me to give the second movie in this series a watch followed by me sharing my thoughts. ‘Apres Ski ‘ occurs chronologically after ‘Alternative FAQs’ (which is acknowledged throughout) so I would recommend that you watch the first movie before starting the second one. It documents the Duchess as she takes a ski Holliday and takes a liking to one of the ski instructors but this causes her to reflect on who she is and what she stands for. After encountering the rather attractive ski instructor an accident occurs where the duchess now has to find her way down a ski slope and then find help however throughout the journey she meets some wonderful characters and has to escape from an avalanche.
This show is intended for a more mature audience due to the drug and alcohol influences, sexual innuendo and the use of very old school classic comedy one-liners. At one point the duchess needs to call 911 for an ambulance so instead of grabbing a phone simply shouts “911” which I have seen done many times in old school shows (I have personally performed this same joke in youth/kids clubs many times!) Also, this movie is structured in a way that makes it appear very chaotic and frenzied which a younger audience may find confusing/overwhelming. This second movie is just as wild as the first one as it is essentially a one-person show where the same performer takes on a range of unusual characters including a talking yeti and a snow flow. Also like the previous show this movie musical contains many references to modern-day issues. In the opening moments of the film, the duchess talks about forming social bubbles (the term “bubble” being most commonly used to those you deem as safe to hang out with during the global pandemic) and also towards the end of the show it talks about the importance of forming communities especially those in the LGBT+ community. Surrounding yourself with positive people is always important but right now with prides all across the country being cancers and queer spaces closing down, it’s even more important for any LGBT+ viewers. From the chaotic scenes and comedy, this is a film that I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during the rehearsal/filming process as I bet it was filled with laughs and wild moments!
I thought that the casting of Sam Encarnacion to play Damiel the ski instructor was a perfecting casting choice as he is also a very attractive man (which is a key component of the character) but also his mannerism contrasted with the eccentric duchess perfectly while still fitting into the overall vibe of the show! I was a little confused by the fact that this actor did not provide the voice for the songs that this character was involved with, instead, it was dubbed over with the duchess singing. We also had a virtual cameo from Corey Brill who has appeared on shows such as The Walking Dead and CSI Miami. Despite not being a physical appearance, I enjoyed seeing a much more glamorous version of the duchess during the song “where would I be without you” which was about not having people who check up on you. These conversations with friends can be incredibly important and they are vital now more than ever so having the duchess talk about feeling alone is very much needed right now! Despite this being a much more serious number there was still a trace of comedic moments and sexual references to fit with the rest of the show.
Overall this is a wild and chaotic show that explores some very important themes without appearing like a lecture which is great for the audience. The entire film is just over an hour long and keeps you on the edge of your seat through and is broken up by moments of musical (and non-musical) hilarity! I would rate Apres-ski 4.5 stars out of 5! You can check a recording of the songs from this movie at https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-duchess-carpathia-bouffray-apr%C3%A9s-ski-original/1570017899
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