Archive for February, 2014

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Adelaide Fringe Review 2014 – Blues and Burlesque

 

The patrons shuffle into the boutique opulence that is La Boheme, all velvet hangings, art deco wallpaper and subdued lighting.  The little diablo on my shoulder informs me a suitable potation is called for, nay, demanded to properly accompany this evenings entertainment, and the barman indulges my need for something period with a mighty fine Sazerac, made with a Kubler absinthe wash.

 

The ivories begin to tinkle under the dancing digits of ex-Dexy’s Midnight Runners pianist, Pete Saunders, whose banter and bluesy growl led tunes on the topics of ne’er-do-well showgirls started to invoke the atmosphere of a smokey speakeasy (albeit without the actual smoke thanks to the health lobby).

 

pete

 

Then like a pure white peace dove released from the bow of the ark – the delightful Sarina de Fuego glided onto the stage. Pearlescent, bearing fans that beat with angelic grace, she gave an elegant & graceful performance full of seductive smiles, possibly lulling us into a false sense of security unaware of the maelstrom to come.

 

Cranking up the heat, Pete applied a blow torch to the cabaret crucible by introducing our pair of Femme Fatales, Scarlett Belle and Vicious Delicious, into a manic but classic call response jazz singing and dancing frenzy.

 

Getting to know Ms Vicious Delicious a bit better, she may put on gallic airs and graces when it suits but she’s really a lovely down to earth chav lass at heart with a potty mouth and all the subtlety of a brick through a Bimmers front windscreen. Glorious. Engaging in a hilariously awkward audience led strip tease she climaxes with a fetish checklist footstomp tune.

 

vicious

 

This is followed by starlet Scarlett Belle returning to sing about the Art of Tease, a bingo tick box as you go lyrical litany of burlesque technique, all the while adorned like seductive villainess Poison Ivy.

 

Bringing us some decent blood on the tap dance floor as a duelling duet, they easily revert into powerful vocal ménage a trois action with the good Mr Saunders, where they sing of high ambition thwarted. Indeed, though they may be looking up and wishing upon the stars, they remind us well with the inverted sentiments of Oscar Wilde that we all sitting together in the gutters.

 

 Scarlett

 

This wonderful demonstration of solo prowess and lethal artistic stiletto heel jousting continues with songs about beard bingeing hirsutophilia (yea verily, and/or pogonophilia) and faux- Piafian vengeance upon gormless lovers. This was topped with an infernally flirtatious and smouldering burlesque strip tease from Scarlett Belle that well appealed to the Devil’s advocate within us all.

There is little wonder why Blues & Burlesque has won one of the coveted weekly awards for the Adelaide Fringe 2014.  There are only very limited performances left – do yourself a favour.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 28th 2014 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe 2014 – Peaches and Gin Big Band Burlesque Review

 

I like to think there comes a time, hopefully, in many a burlesque dancer’s life when the hard yards achieve a critical speed and trajectory to put them into a whole other orbit.  Adelaide’s own Peaches’n’Gin, I think, are a permanent twinkling satellite in the night sky with their ever escalating production values evident in Big Band Burlesque.

 

Regular Ceremonial Mistress and powerful vocalist Lady Cara is such a natural in front of a genuine band of highly proficient performers, Capitol Swing, that it all underpins what should be a benchmark standard for Australia‘s burlesque intelligentsia, that in-piped music from a mixing desk is just not enough anymore for those hungering for something bigger.

 

This was most evident with Sapphire Snow’s opening act, looking stunning as always in a sexy diamante accentuated dress, with an intensity of interplay between the band and the audience that just seemed to magnify every twist of a wrist, unplucking of a button, the decent of a zipper.  The viscerally felt squeal of a live trumpet to underpin a dramatic flash of flesh takes on a heightened sensation to the observer. And she worked every accent and note flourish to bend the audience into adoration.

Sapphire

Miss Burlesque Victoria, Becky Lou emerges in a sleet-white coat ,and then proceeds to move like a soft snow drift on stage, the hidden winds of creativity pushing her into poses of desire and decadence. But when the pace changes, and the drums beat hard, she erupts into a Richter scale shimmy of earthquake proportions. Without revealing more, she has a distinctly comedic side with her follow up act involving certain vegetables and kitchen knife play which culminates in more grinding than seen in a mortar and pestle.

 

American visitor Russell Bruner from the wonderful land of the weird, “Portlandia”, punctuates the otherwise pleasing feminine overload with some polished vaudevillian Boylesque moves, fashionable dandy flair, accomplished top hat acrobatics, jazz jiving swing singing & beat poetry and genuine intimate audience interaction.  Can I say, RAdelaideans, that I was pleased to even see the guys in the audience get in the spirit of this performance – reflecting that maybe local audiences have come a long way in appreciating the beauty and aesthetics of good burlesque performance, regardless of who may be performing it.

Russell

Vesper White is a burlesque tour-de-force who summoned the hungry jungle spirits of Conga lines and Latin grooves under the protection of a ridiculously large hat, while teasing us with a laced derrier. Shedding her skin to a devil-may-care scarlett, she was wound as tight as a rubber band as her hips seductively swung like maracas but struck like a whip. Her second performance took a different tone with a traditional Cabaret strip adorned in tops & tails, but with Germanic Weimar sensibilities that cast away subtlety – instead exuding overt danger & seduction. Almost a dare to the audience to withstand her onslaught, as though she was saying “You know what you came here for, here it is…”

 

Strawberry Siren, Miss Burlesque Australia 2013, is a chameleon, a shape shifter on stage moving between animal forms as fancy takes her. She may dance with fans in a peacock strut but each step becomes more feline, culminating in hungry prowling the stage. She wields her fans like weapons, the wrist and upper arm strength making delicate props deadly and accurate. Every muscle and tendon being a dance on its own when she performs. Later ,when adorned in peridot Belle Epoque finery, her graceful moves transform her into a stunning La Fee Verte I would be happy to have dancing over my absinthe glass any night of the week.

 Strawberry

Lastly, but never least, is the celestial Luna Eclipse, who rather than being ephemeral in her performances, always reflects a very down to earth approach to burlesque – filled with humour, audience encouragement and most important of all, unabashed in your face fun.  Adorned in frills, and dancing a twisted Charleston seemingly highlighted with some Latin flourishes, her energy is as infectious as the Spanish Flu and leaves you with a fever.

Big Band Burlesque has a limited number of additional shows – get your tickets while you can to see one of the most well produced burlesque shows this Fringe.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 26th 2014 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2014 – Pretty Peepers

 

Before seeing Pretty Peepers, it is worthwhile knowing a little bit about the history of the Theatre of the Absurd, and in particular the Surrealist manifestations such as the conceptual Theatre of Cruelty by Artonin Artaud where the intent is visceral physical impact upon the audiences sensibilities, where the body is a canvas for transcendence in performance.

If this seems like too much artistic wankery for your stomach, then a dose of mind-altering chemicals is your other option prior to setting foot in the Peacock Performance Tent and subjecting yourself to the cabaret apocalypse of Kira Carden, Glitta Supernova and Betty Grumble.

 

The first act I can only describe as Janus-headed Disco Mouseketeer Chorus Line Terrorism.  Go on, let your imagination go crazy – it would still not be on the money.

 peepers1

This was followed by a distinctly bedlamesque prose reminiscent of the most heavily medicated nursing home residents having a psychotic reaction, and don’t-you-know-the-nurses-are-stealing-my-money.

 

A sexy-school girl incarnated with feminine smiling Robin Gibb impersonating Zhu Bajie performed a highly political burlesque number that demonstrates why the Rudd-government alcopop tax achieved very little public health outcomes.

 peepers2

A Lolita-cross-Raggedy Ann then stripped down to barest black essentials and delivered a scorching hot hula hoop routine that mixed hot sass and contortionist stretches, that I’m sure also had an important socio-political commentary, but I was a little too captivated to jot anything down.

 

We also got a delightful home movie about an aspiring pornographic actress with a Watership Down fetish demonstrating root vegetable fellating and other highly popular German acts guaranteed to stick a carotenous product up the conservative Family First fundament.

peepers3

There was more hulahoops by swamp things, exhibitionist carnivorous vegetation, funky fecophilia-driven footwork and creative use of porterhouse steaks in an Avon-lady curated vaginal monologue.

 

Obscene, vulgar, lewd, anarchic, sexy as all hell and a goddamn hoot.

Remaining shows this weekend only!  Take the whole family…and await a visit from Community Services.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 22nd 2014 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2014 – Miss Fortunes The Beautiful & The Damned

Adelaide Fringe appears blessed with a number of international burlesque tourers and all the better when they converge in once place with some local talent. Thankfully, it appears the scourge of ‘corporate entertainment burlesque’ evident in previous years has taken a backseat this Fringe with some more heartfelt performances taking the stage.  Miss Fortune‘s “The Beautiful & The Damned” is one such production.

The delightful Sarina del Fuego, international showgirl of mystery who bounces between Australia & UK, commenced the evening under the shadow of double bass driven swagger in a cool black lace and nicotine routine where understatement and subtlety paradoxically inverts into a visual converation about sexiness sans flamboyance. Her follow up performance continued the point about minimalism with a slow sensual strip tease adorned in sugar white.  Certainly not saccharine, and undoubtedly very bad for those with a sweet tooth for charm & seduction.

Pantherian local Leopard Lass hit us hard with frantic flapper jazz electro beats with a sharp androgynine sass, gymnastic street dance moves and strip tease.  Not one to stand back from the audience, she broke out the filthy jazz number in her follow up routine making us just as much of the furniture in this most raunchy unpeeling.

 

North Country UK, Raven Noir emerged onto the stage like a Tarot High Priestess card – hard corseted, adorned, resplendent in corvine sable with matching headdress. The reverb cranked high over feedback screeching guitars as belly dance hip swings invoked a most dark psychedelic unveiling.  The second number was underpinned by dirty & desperate blues rock which had her bloom in elaborate black & purple extravagance like a underworld Brazilian Carnival showgirl – a performing Pompa Gira extracting her dues from those who would dare to tangle with her.

 

British born Doll-I-Am skipped onto the scene like a tragic Spring Queen, floral and innocent and yet suffering the tragedies of bad footwear. In a welcome comedic twist, the procurement of Forbidden Red Shoes climaxes in a satanic tap dance routine to Iron Maiden, such a mix of stylistic cues I have not yet encountered elsewhere.  Further invoking her penchant for child hood fairy tale allusions her Wind Up Toy routine mixed ballet technique and 80’s moves in a clever combination of genres.

 

Silk Desire, from Italy, was a beautiful wave of technical expertise – belly dance, contortionism, ballet & burlesque – her creativity knew no bounds as evident in her two performances. Manifesting initially as a twirling hip swinging sequined disco ball on an endorphin high, to delivering a classy Renaissance striptease that started on ‘pointe work’ and then busted out to some  sassy jazzy Eine Kliene Nachtmusik.

The Beautiful & The Damned have a long Fringe season, so there is plenty of opportunity to get yourself a ticket and treat yourself to some class performances.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 19th 2014 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

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