The art of titillation

An Evening of Burlesque

Malvern Theatres

****

BURLESQUE is an art form which still divides opinion. A playful celebration of female sexuality or a degrading striptease for the middle classes?

Well, for me it all depends on the presentation. After their successful international tour, this troupe has put together a new show for 2013, produced by Michael Taylor, which combines showgirl spectacle, comedy, circus skills and song.

 Promising the audience an evening of tastefully tantalising talent, frivolity and fun, Britain’s biggest burlesque showcases some of the genre’s most smouldering stars. Interestingly, the audience was made up of more women than men, many of whom had dressed up Dita Von Teese style for the occasion. They were clearly there for the glamour, the sparkle, the fun and the frivolity and the show’s sashaying heroines The Folly Mixtures did not disappoint.

Trained dancers, The Folly Mixtures entranced with their gorgeous glittery outfits and minxish moves. They performed various routines together and individually, with vintage costumes and stunning dresses, always with the highest of heels and always artfully peeling the layers down to a few well placed sequins and some sparkly nipple tassels.

 Bumping, grinding, sashaying, shimmying, wobbling and wiggling were displayed with joy, and these four clearly revelled in their allure and the beauty of the female form. Liberty Sweet’s fan dance was elegant and poised, and Betsy Bonbon’s emerald evening dress was almost too good to step out of. Angie Sylvia’s belly dance and fire eating routine was one of my favourites and Felixy Splits always had a playful glint in her eye.

The ‘all tease, no sleaze’ assurance was blighted only by hostess Ivy Paige, whom I felt went a little too far with tall tales of her lascivious lifestyle. Most of the audience took the glamorous compere’s tongue in cheek chat as intended however, and she certainly made it a memorable evening for audience member Steve who was called up on stage on several occasions and looked rather happy to have Ms Paige singing ‘Close To You’ whilst sitting on his lap.

In between the delights of The Folly Mixtures, other variety acts were introduced. Chloe Hannah Lloyd wowed the audience with her acrobatics and agile hoop dancing. Chloe made hooping around one foot whilst walking on her hands look effortlessly elegant, and her finale with what must have been around thirty rainbow coloured hoops has certainly given me something to practise this summer.

KNIFE JUGGLING

AJ James added a bit of talent for the women to admire, with his comedy knife juggling act (impressively done whist balancing on a rolla bolla on a table), his somersaulting and his heroic feat of escapism from a (reportedly) nipple chafing thirty metres of metal chains. He knew what his female fans were really wanting though, and he did eventually deliver, glitter balls and all.

The only act which for me did not work and felt like a time filler was one where a ‘conductor’ (Mike Raphone?) led the audience in a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Whilst there was much happy audience participation throughout the show, the humour in this act partially depended on making one audience member look rather silly as he played his part in the orchestra and jumped up and down, which I thought was unnecessary and really not at all amusing.

The cast of the show varies depending on the date and venue and I’m sorry that Malvern missed out on the fabulous Count Adriano Fettucini. I am not ashamed to say that I have a photo of Count Adriano on my bedroom wall and that as unicycle stripteases go, Fettucini’s has to be the best!

If you like variety, circus, glamour and a slice of seduction, this could well be the show for you. Ideally I’d add a few more dancers and certainly more male performers to the show, but then I guess An Evening of Burlesque would not have been doing its job if it hadn’t left me wanting more . . .

An Evening of Burlesque was in Malvern for one night only but is touring the UK throughout the year and into 2014. The term ‘in the flesh’ has never seemed more fitting. 06-07-13

Amy Rainbow

Home  Malvern  Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre