Star rating: three stars ★ ★ ★
This evening of burlesque is a throwback to a bygone era, with some surprises in between. It boasts gifted and determined performers, but doesn’t manage to add up to a completely satisfying experience. We’re welcomed to the Spiegeltent Colombino by our MC for the evening, Natalia Kalashnikov. She is glamorous, she is Russian, but in spite of a winning personality, some of her humour falls a bit flat. What is a hit though is her hilarious split which she arduously performs to the thrill of the audience.
There are several strong acts, starting with Scottish performer Whisky Falls and her Dance of the seven veils. She demonstrates a keen ability for belly dancing as well as showmanship. Also Isabella Bliss brings some old school Marilyn Monroe-style glamour to the proceedings. But it is the 2014 World Burlesque Games winner Eliza DeLite who really impresses and closes the show strongly with her 1920s inspired fan dance.
The quirkier acts are deft and keen, but don’t quite land as strongly. Ms. Fanny with her Fifty Shades of Fanny number, which includes a recorded narration of her inner thoughts as she tries to seduce her video-game playing partner, is humorous but grows tedious after a while. Luli Blue with her ‘Where’s Wally?’ inspired dance has a lot of ‘pop’ in it (she is clothed mostly in balloons), but deflates as soon as most of the balloons are dispatched with a pin halfway through.
Some acts don’t land at all. The sole man in the group representing boylesque, Smokin’ McQueen, performs an odd and raunchy ‘anilingus’ number with a bird hand puppet. I’m not kidding. Invited jazz singer Phat Man Dee doesn’t really thrill, but her ‘patriotic’ rendition of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, sung with her fist in her mouth, is memorable.
All in all it was a mixed evening, but the highs narrowly surpassed the lows in this naughty and sexy show.
Chaz Royal and World Burlesque Games