Archive for February, 2011

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Adelaide Fringe Review – A Burlesque Upon A Time

The giant story book prop on stage adorned with “Peaches & Gin – A Burlesque Upon a Time” was the first indication that we were in store for quite a fractured Fairy Tale. While the drive time radio-style banter and MC’ing from Rohan Watts and Cara Louise didn’t quite cement this premise to my comfort, they did try to build the atmosphere with getting the audience comfortable with whooping and hollering as was appropriate.

Our first tease of what was to come was delivered through a clever silhouette routine through the pages of the oversized story book by Luna Eclipse & Sapphire Snow, culminating with them coming to life in the flesh much to our delight. This was followed by a musical number on the theme of “Until Death We Do Part”, by the Evil Queen of Hearts Cara Louise, which was delivered with humour & homicidal wit. No arguments, the gal can sing cabaret.

The un-coventional bedtime story continued with Sapphire as the jilted Princess, who gave us a most illuminating “black light” Cinderella routine. This was followed by a “Jeannie” I will probably keep dreaming about, courtesy of Ms Luna, who gave us a cheeky and entertaining Arabian Nights number, showing her personality is way to big to be kept bottled in a magic lamp.

The question as to whether one is a jiggler or a dangler came to mind as I contemplated Sapphire’s novel pastie-placement of tea bags in her clever “Mad Hatters Tea Party”. We were then graced by a visit from Luna’s Ice Queen on wings of silver, that culminated in a powerful grind to 50’s rock, a sensually staggered but stomping strip tease.

All together, we were given a well constructed story line and framework to support the talent and creativity inherent in these two burlesque babes. But to comment, another online critic has made an unkind quip that the props & performance of Burlesque Upon A Time is more reminiscent of a well put together talent show, but not a professional burlesque gig – which I think shows he completely misses the point of Burlesque as a performance movement.

Like Punk, the Burlesque revival has a strong do-it-yourself ethic – and when you have this in mind you can see the difference between corporate managed “faux-Burlesque” which is sterile jazz dance in corsets, versus performance from people who have built and supported their act from the ground up. Personally I prefer a little more Buzzcocks in my Burlesque, and a little less Toto.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 28th 2011 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Events,Music,People,Style | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review – Noir Revue


When you want an evening of dark cabaret, a heady atmosphere like that of somewhere from the Deep South can’t hurt – and Adelaide’s weather has certainly come to the party on the eventide, a readily thickening humidity rolling over the Fringe site, amplified within the performance tent, pushed even further by the performances in Noir Revue.

Our Mistress of Ceremonies, the Blue Angel, an ethereal creature somewhere between Little Nell and Marlene Deitrich has promised us dark tragic beauties & troublesome fellows.  This they delivered and more.

Throughout the evening we had wonderful stylistic counterpunctuality between songstress Baby Blue Bergman & Dizzy, who delivered beautifully aching renditions of Blue Velvet and Bang Bang, set in a balanced dichotomy against the deep soul driven lamentations of Chantal delivering Blues in the Night and Folsom Prison Blues amongst her repertoire.

The theme of knife edge balance curiously continues amongst the routines of Paloma Negra & Missy – who together performed an erotically charged Chair Tango, reinforcing an old saying that the Tango is horizontal desire expressed vertically. When separated, each demonstrated no shortage of matched aerial skill – Paloma on the Delta Trapeze and Missy on a Trapeze Ring, the attention of the audience held not through circus trickery, but in the discipline each demonstrated in slow deliberate contortions.  The tightening of a muscle, a tendon stretched, maybe a bead of sweat delivering the fascination to the observer, each of us being compelled and drawn into the very restraint itself.

And old favourite, Mr Gorski delivers a new take on his amazing hat & cigar juggling skills.  Whereas the last time I saw him the routine certainly had a nod to the good Mr Chaplin’s physical comedy, Mr Gorski’s present incarnation presents a much darker, uncontrolled protagonist. Drunk, leering and pleasantly unwholesome, this Mr Gorski comes from a tenebrous corner of the psyche, a development I appreciate considerably.

Our required dose of tease was delivered in medicinal spoonfuls by Scarlett Jezebel and Sarina del Fuego – both together and in separate routines, some parts deliberately understated, some exorcising any need for subtlety.  Scarlett was resplendent in glory in her amazing Peacock Feather Fan bustle, azure magnificence as she swayed and bumped her way before us, peeling away the layers to our delight.  And the divine Ms del Fuego delivered the naughty and naughtier, forgetting the nice somewhere along the way. Her Perdita Smoking routine was sensual and a source of ignition (not only from the cigarette), while her fan routine held something of the Norman Lindsay aesthetic, like some dryad celebrating release from one of his etchings.

I would hasten to add that like shadows, the full range of noir sensibilities is cast only in the presence of a suitable light source – and tonight’s performance carried enough light and shade from each performer to emotionally move one between states of engagement, from awe to sympathy, through titillation and doses of whimsy.

The remaining performances are Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th February, I suggest you start your 2011 Adelaide Fringe off with a bang, bump and grind at the Noir Revue.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 17th 2011 | Filed in Art,Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Events,People,Reviews | Comments (0)