A Dinner Date With Lorelei & Sarina – More Fringe!

Through the good support of the fine folk at the Adelaide Fringe, Absinthe.com.au were fortunate to attend a ‘dinner date’ performance of cabaret & burlesque with the delightful Lorelei & Sarina at the deliciously 100% vegan & vego friendly/performance space venue – Sarah’s Cafe.

Compered by the hostess with the mostest, the infernally witty Gabrielle, the girls put on a highly polished performance that broke out of the standard conventions of ‘burlesque’, and took us on a journey to more unexpected places, to the festive Copacabana, and even the sex & glamour of 1970s drag strip racing.


We are also big fans of Lorelei (bom bom)

Lorelei was able to take time out of their busy schedule to give us her thoughts on the future of cabaret & burlesque, and a glimpse behind the golden curtain into the realities of the profession.

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How long have you and Sarina been involved in burlesque and cabaret shows?

Both Sarina and I were working as solo performers five years ago, but got together maybe three to four years ago and then created the duo. I actually first became interested when I was about 15, that’s when I bought my first set of feather fans. I went to a venue here in Adelaide called the Crazy Horse and asked “is there anyone who can teach me how to use these things?”, but the response was “no, no way, you’re way too young”. So that was my first spark of interest in the art of burlesque.

What first brought you to the art and gave you the interest?

I’ve always been into cabaret and dance, so that is what really first sparked the interest for me, the love of theatre. But then what really inspired me was a movie called ‘The Big Town’ with Matt Dillon, and there was a feather fan dance in it – and this was a long time before burlesque became what it is now so this is what really inspired me to be doing it myself. I then went and saw some shows, and then I went to Paris to check out the Moulin Rouge and the Ledo, and see what was happening there. It inspired me even more, and that was the point that I met up with Sarina.

The colourful and vibrant Sarina

At the show I saw last Saturday it was mentioned that you both design and make all your own costumes and even sets – it seems therefore to be a very Do-It-Yourself sort of endeavour?

Yes I think so, I think you need to have very broad interests in the arts, in colour, and knowing what inspires you to put it all together. It’s not just about getting some feather fans, wearing red or black or anything like that – and that is what sets you apart from those who are just jumping on the bandwagon now. But you can see the people who have a real passion for it.

The difference between doing burlesque as a hobby versus a career – is there a distinct line or is there tipping point where you suddenly discover by accident that this is a real career option?

Absolutely, we both do performance full time now, and it is a full time job. As far as being called burlesque, we tend to fall somewhere between burlesque and cabaret. We don’t totally fit within burlesque as we are also doing Show Girl-Hollywood style shows, which is a lot more cabaret.

This is something I noticed about your show was the breadth of the ‘ages’ – the original fan dances to the modern chequered flags and racing suits, the latter being more about now and not being stuck in the past. Given some performers or troupes may focus on French Cabaret or Vegas Showgirl, is having the flexibility to move quite common?

It’s not common, most people may stick to traditional jazz tracks and similar music. We do like to play around with it a lot as we both have very broad interests in styles of music, so we like to draw on everything that we love. For myself, I just hear a song, and I’m very visual – so when I’m hearing it something will go with it, and that’s how it starts. So for something like the ‘Drag Strip’ routine, the Blondie song that we use has always been one of my favourite songs. So if I want to use a song, the outfits may then come to our minds…


Hostess Gabrielle and her “Green Fairy”

So the music comes first and then the ideas flow from that?

The music comes first, or the costumes come first. I have a background in fashion, so sometimes designing the costumes may come first.

From the rise in popularity of burlesque and cabaret there appears to be a level of formal professionalism, even ‘corporatisation’, developing – is this having a positive or negative effect? Is it impinging at all upon artistic freedom, such that troupes may be told what to perform, or is there still a lot more liberty given to performers?

To be honest we have never come up to a wall where we have had limitations. We get a lot of corporate shows, and when they book us they want us to be a bit free and easy, they don’t want a structured troupe – otherwise they would go to Sydney Dance Company or somewhere like that. They are actually hiring us because they like what we do – they like that we are passionate about what we do.Are there troupes in the scene that are there in a more commercial capacity than artistic capacity?

Absolutely. Particularly presenters who have become quite well known as ‘burlesque hosts’, and they get hired for corporate gigs to be the host for the evening. To me it seems like they are just jumping on the band wagon. Anyone can dress ‘burlesque’, that’s pretty easy – you can go hire an outfit. But I think it is your character within it that makes it believable.

How close is the scene locally and internationally for networking and support?

There are a lot of evenings set up where the most in demand burlesque acts will be on the same bill – so I guess there is a network. But we tend to get booked for more corporate gigs, so we are a little bit out of the circle in that way, as we don’t do a lot of smaller venues anymore. It is a good time for us because it is so popular now that we can get booked for those bigger shows. We are just soaking it up and seeing where we can evolve from here. And because we are more cabaret than burlesque we aren’t going to get stuck in that burlesque box if it goes out of fashion.


All that glitters may not be gold, but it diamantes are always in fashion.

Do you see there being a peak – and post that peak what is going to continue long term as the core of the art?

I think there is a possibility that it could be peaking now, what will come of that I don’t know. I am noticing now that there is a resurgence in circus performance, and people who might have been once doing pole work are now doing hoop work, and taking their skills into other areas. I’m imagining that this may be the next peak. It’s great though, as it means everyone will lift their game a little bit, get a few more skills under their belt and become better performers.What does the future hold for you and Sarina?

I’m seeing something beyond Australia, because of what we were talking about, where there may be a peak and a drop. We feel like we would like to branch out into being located somewhere like Paris or elsewhere in Europe where the art is always there – it doesn’t have a limited lifespan because there will always be an audience for it, and always be a venue for it. So taking the art back to where it came from and evolving from there.


And we at Absinthe.com.au thank the girls for their performance and insights into the scene, and wish them all the greatest success. Their last Fringe performance will be 7.00pm on Saturday 15th March @Sarah’s Cafe – don’t miss out!

Jonathan Mar 13th 2008 08:36 pm Burlesque,Cabaret,Events,Interviews,Music,People,Reviews No Comments yet Trackback URI

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