A Sexy Circus-Style Cabaret Show Comes to New York City
AirOtic Soirée is an immersive experience you will not want to miss.
The title of AirOtic Soirée, running at HK Hall in Hell’s Kitchen through December, makes a lot more sense in French.
When – after opening night on Friday, Nov. 4 – performer Stéphane Kier said it in his silky accent, the word sounded more like “érotique” and less like “aerotick” (which was totally not how I was pronouncing it in my head).
The show – which featured Stéphane, alongside husband Kyle Kier, Snö Bunta, and Erin Blaire – is, indeed, érotique. It is also artistique and fantastique. The perfect activity for a date night.
I, however, went alone (my date wasn’t feeling well). And, while there was some awkwardness when, upon arriving at my rose petal-strewn table, I was presented with two glasses of champagne (I gladly drank both), AirOtic Soirée certainly held up as a solo endeavor.
During the immersive cocktail hour, a performer in black sequin lingerie and white ruffled cape swung so close to me that I could almost touch her feet. Every so often, another performer came out to discretely give her swing a push.
The finger food, by Chef Saul, included a tuna “wanton” bite (typo or purposeful pun?), truffle arancini, short rib slider, and chicken lollipop. I was relieved to be on my own. The lollipop, though delicious, was difficult to eat elegantly.
In the first act, performers in fuchsia sequin leotards did aerial stunts to Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy.” With one beat drop, the performers dropped, too, eliciting a collective gasp from the audience.
Indeed, top 40 hits formed most of AirOtic’s thumping soundtrack. Blaire, draped in powder pink tulle, spun rapidly to Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle,” hanging only from her long ponytail.
Stéphane, wearing a black sequin bodysuit, came out strutting to “Black Magic Woman” in the highest heals I’ve ever seen.
Bunta, looking like an ice princess, did contorted handstands on a bedazzled table, becoming human furniture herself.
But a highlight was a bed frame routine, with both Kiers, to Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love.” They moved in seesaw-like synchronicity while throwing handfuls of white confetti. Though I didn’t learn until later that they were married, their chemistry was palpable.
Less tender, but more cutthroat, was Bunta and Blaire’s routine to Britney Spears’s “Toxic.” Sporting red and black suits, the pair did aerial stunts, including one that looked a lot like mid-air scissoring.
As the night went on, the acts got more daring. The tops came off and the jock straps came out.
My personal favorite act involved fluorescent yellow paint, which dripped over Bunta’s skin in a surprisingly seductive sponge bath. It could have been performance art.
An even more experimental routine – involving translucent sheets affixed to hula hoops – coincided with dessert. Tapa-sized fig tarts, tiramisu, and panna cotta.
For the climax, an actual bathtub graced the stage. To Christina Aguilera’s “Nasty Naughty Boy,” the Kiers cavorted in the water-filled porcelain.
They dipped below the surface, flipping their hair to form aqueous arcs. “I got you breaking into a sweat,” sang Xtina. “Got you hot, bothered, and wet.”
It was a brilliant finale, and I came out of the whole thing feeling oddly reaffirmed in my bisexuality.