The Pavillion Theatre at the Winter Gardens got somewhat steamy on Saturday, enchanting its audience with an evening of Burlesque Noir: The Garden of Unearthly Treasures. Warm up entertainment was provided by The Sideshow of Wonders. Guests were greeted by a pirate dispensing chocolate coins, a real live mermaid sprawled across a chaise longue and a bearded lady adorned with dental floss and diamante. Honestly, it was great! She had more confidence in her two exposed butt cheeks than Jedward at their first audition. Upon entering the theatre the Strongman challenged audience members to lift his styrofoam dumbbell and the bearded lady nipped in now and again to eat fire without singeing a single hair on that beautiful chin of hers.
It was an apt introduction to what can only be described as an eye opening experience. The line-up was diverse, representing different facets of the art form. Miss Immodesty Blaize, ‘Europe’s top showgirl and Burlesque Queen’ was the headline act and the only performer of the evening who managed the irony of putting a second frock on with the same seduction and skill it took to remove the first one.
Acts such as Susie Sequin, Violet Blaze, Velma Von Bon Bon, Silk Desire, and Raven Noir kicked off the night in true showgirl fashion. The sequins and feathers were flying, nipple tassels were spinning and there was no shortage of laughs courtesy of the evening’s compere Mrs Hawkins and her offstage adversary, drag queen Dame Alice Allarse. The chuckles continued throughout the impromptu stand-up of singer Kiki DeVille. You may remember Kiki from Will.i.am’s team last year on The Voice. Those who had forgotten were promptly reminded as she blew the roof off with a jazzy rendition of I Just Wanna Make Love to You.
Although all the acts must be commended for showcasing the artistry of Burlesque, each bringing a unique narrative and demonstrating at least 20 ways to wear and un-wear layers this season, there were a few stand-out performers of the evening. Velma Von Bon Bon brought a distinctive routine to the stage, playing a circus monkey, hand cranking an old oppressive music box. It was all very Blackpool Variety circa 1933, but to the audience’s amusement the monotony was soon broken by the irresistible beat and guitar riffs of Kenny Loggins’ Footloose – and the removal of Velma’s monkey suit of course.
Violet Blaze kept the momentum going as she arrived on stage dressed like a purple Quality Street, taunting, teasing, and unwrapping one shimmering layer at a time, finally revealing a generous chocolate filling. Her act closed with the ceremonious pouring of two glasses of milk and Mrs Hawkins exclaimed: “Somehow I feel I should get down on my hands and knees and lap that up!”
These days it’s hard to get an innocent blush and giggle with sex and nudity on offer everywhere we look. Well done to all the performers who put the cheek back into Burlesque.
Images by C J Griffiths Photography.
Show Comments (2)
I was there on Sat but for me the Star of the show was Raven Noir such dignity in her performance sorry but Imodesty Baize did nothing for me altogether the show was tremendous fun and I really enjoyed all of it
I was there on Sat but for me the Star of the show was Raven Noir such dignity in her performance sorry but Imodesty Baize did nothing for me altogether the show was tremendous fun and I really enjoyed all of it every act was great fun