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Adelaide Fringe Review 2017 – Burlesque Idol

Hannie+Raegan+Burlesque+Idol

 

One of the most pleasing things about Burlesque Idol is that, year on year, the standard of individual performers is just getting exponentially better. It is abundantly clear that routines are being polished and workshopped amongst peers and mentors – not to say such competitions can’t be a lab bench to experiment with new idea’s, but it is more so satisfying when previous proof-of-concept creative is laid out as a finished opus.

 

But the other growing trend is the number of fella’s getting into the competition – and the night kicked of with Kaiju-stylin boylesque, Gingzilla. A Fire-Giant killing it on-stage with an operatic Brynhildr vocal range and a pair of heels so high that they could only have bought hir closer to Valhalla.

 

No stranger to our previous reviews, Audrey Addiction was a melting pot of all the right elements – strong audience connection, a sense of humour, drum tight synchronisation, but keeping the pace slow & sexy so that individual components flowed from one to the other with just the right continuity.

 

Senorita Desert Rose was armed & dangerous, a bandit-Saint Nuestra Dama de la Danza. Under her flowing ruffled dress, her heels fired like Smith & Wessons on the stage. Her demeanour switched between demure and defiant in a drum beat, while she delivered sharp dance technique from a broad range of disciplines.

 

Diana D’vine was the Hero we had been holding out for as she channelled her inner Linda Carter over 80’s Steinman pop anthems, bringing our favourite Amazonian to stage. I personally find good burlesque comedy is as much 90% facial communication – you can dance with shtick all you like, but if your lips & eyebrows aren’t doing a conga line with your hips, you lose the audience. No danger of that from this Wonder Woman.

 

Ira Luxuria may have come on stage in all classic burlesque adornments, but any fears of a unambitious by-the-numbers affair were blown out of the water when she rocked out a take-no-prisoners routine to high energy Glaswegian pop-punk. A thoughtful juxtaposition of hard attitude with delicate appearances, she brought together the best of old & new burly smarts.

 

Marilyn Mocktail undertook an alchemical endeavour of transmogrification on stage, with an archetypal Crone finding her inner Maiden alive and well. There were some clever plays on popular burlesque stripping tropes, the mandatory glove peel taking on a much more visceral fleshy delivery with handy prosthetics. What underpinned her performance most of all was her smile – it was omnipresent , pervasive and persuasive, and invested us in her performance.

 

Miss Curvella, Miss Burlesque SA 2016, juggles elegance and swagger in a way that reinforces just why she won the State title last year. Her lips & eyes are deployed like weapons of mass hypnosis. Her routines are deceptively athletic, delivered gracefully and measured, but executed such the physical demand is well concealed, the mark of a professional.

 

Holly Wouldn’t transformed the stage into the realm of an Ice Queen – her eyes batting shyly, but only to ensure we approach enough to be ensnared. Regal & resplendent, adorned with light and diaphanous wings, she delivered a symphonic-driven tease that used the mystery of her veils for a slow shedding of form to magnificent effect.

 

Wayne Carter has possibly forever ruined father-son movie time for me by devising Minion Boylesque. But far from despicable, he bounced, twerked, bumped & grinded like a Black & Decker on the stage and on unprepared audience members. And a valuable lesson that the stage extends past those floodlights, and sometimes audience connection is not just psychological – but a very physical thing!

 

Lastly, Ziggy Charms was literally the kid in the candy store. Frequently bearing a resemblance to a Richard Simmons aerobics workout while on a corn-syrup bender, he bought a rainbow of colour & emotions to the floorboards. What was pleasing was the Burly Poindexter routine wasn’t just a play on traditional routines, but had the simple joy of a 6 year old rocking out in their underpants to Saturday morning music vids.

 

The big winner on the night, deservedly so, was Senorita Desert Rose. Burlesque Idol continues its national journey in coming weeks up the East coast of Australia throughout March.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 25th 2017 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Events,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2017: The Redhead Cabaret

 

From little things big things grow, so the song goes.

I prelude this review with this statement because I can see a lot of fast developing talent, and great ideas. Have no doubt, the crowd loved it – practically a capacity house.

But what I think I saw was a lot of good individual performances that have all the more capacity to be further woven together, and intermeshed, to make something greater than the sum of its parts.

I was simultaneously excited & disappointed that host- Miss Demeanour – fingers of fire on piano, accompanied by sultry Laveene Du Pearl on vocals and a take-no-prisoners drummer, Steph Fitzpretzel, were only musical interlude pieces. Seriously – I think they could, nay, should be used to underpin many of the danced performances too! These performers are not a mere counterpoint to the main show, to my mind.

red head

The show also delves into the mythological & archetypal power of the Red Head. For example, the role of antediluvian Adam’s first wife – Lilith – as a powerful symbol of feminist empowerment, was undertaken by Ivy Fox in her sensuous stage performance. There are two sides to Lilith – that has been reclaimed by women through self-empowerment, and that projected by men in both desire & fear. I think if you are met with a nervous audience who are yet to give it all – then there is a broader palette of emotions to play with to get the response you need and deserve as a performer. But it must be acknowledged that it is no easy thing to channel such a demi-Goddess.

There was a lot of polished technical work – Scarlett Fatale & Harlot Rose demonstrated restraint, poise & balance, showing that seduction can arise through minimalism & pure suggestion. Dulce Esperenza similarly expressed a callisthenic bond with a pair of feather fans that operated as a true extension to herself.

Porcelain LeBon was the embodiment of “switch” – in a routine that cleverly topped from below as she moved to suggest supplication, but cleverly not relinquishing control to those not worthy.

Sirena del Rossa blended sociopathic revenge with sensuality – because the lines between sex & death have ever been thin – and pulls off a body in barrels trope that South Australians would viscerally enjoy. In the wash up she also snubs her nose at occupational health & safety risk by performing worthy balancing acts of visual elegance on slippery surfaces, which we can only thank her for.

barrel

I’m going to mention boylesque perfomer L’Homme Blayze last. He provided the required comedy relief within what could be seen as a heavy programme – but I am going to openly question whether parody routines is the required manifestation of his presence. There is also a psychological gravitas to the male ‘Ranga – and in a show that delves into the Jungian forms that permeate our conscious & unconscious world, I see great opportunity to explore the notions of masculinity under the rulership of this colour – Mars/ Ares, the Irish Dagda…why even Erik The Red since Vikings are all the rage!

Good tribes stick together over time, and I hope this is the case here – because I think there is something more to be discovered in this production. This may be as much an unfolding for the performer as it is for the audience.

There are two more performances of The Redhead Cabaret at Nexus for Adelaide Fringe 2017 season.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 19th 2017 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review 2017 – Michael Wheatley & The Dirty Carpet Disco Band

 

Maybe it was prescient I saw some doco on tv this week bemoaning the passing of Variety Shows, musing that Reality TV & “Australia’s Got Some Kind of X Factor” offerings now occupy the space where professional multitalented performers used to ply their trade.

The sadness behind this is that every song can hold a narrative that starts long before a single note has been struck, a mood and a back-story that prepares us for the experience. And they can all stitch together as part of a bigger artistic testimony that we didn’t see coming. Our attention spans are now too short. And we expect so little in the name of entertainment. Time to raise your expectations, and prepare to have them met.

Wheatley

If this were ornithology, Michael Wheatley would be a very rare Inner Western Sydney Basin Crooner, with a melodious song best heard to great effect in the mating season. He has hidden plumage under that initially understated demeanour – it just takes the right bird song for all to be revealed as nature intended.

But let me talk more about the band. Itty Kitty Bang Bang, a ballet dancing Glamazon commanding a drum kit with the ferocity of the Muppets “Animal”, but with the carefully engineered precision of a Swiss Watch. Stefano Cosetino, Bass man, holds the foundations like reinforced poured concrete – but never inflexible, jazz grooves and pops flowed from his finger tips. Daniel Holmes is like a zen guitarist – his crafted licks and harmonies are an act of meditation seeking to illuminate, not overpower, Michael’s vocals.

Miss Burlesque ACT 2016, Jazida, was music made visible – her arms were pure melody, her hips an extension of Kitty’s kit, her smile an extension of the wry mischief in the lyrics.

But last, I want to talk about Kelly Ann Doll. She is one of Australia’s best burlesque performers, hands down, so I’m not going to tread over old ground. But until this tour, she had never sung in front of a band before. She was a Dionysian Maenad on stage, her voice and body synchronised in frenzy & ecstasy – instinct & emotion ritualised, beautiful & terrifying. This is where burlesque is going. Pay attention.

This troupe of troubadours has one more performance – tonight, 19 February, at La Boheme.

Michael Wheatley & The Dirty Carpet Disco Band – expect severe rug burns.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 19th 2017 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Music,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review – Luna Eclipse’s Adult-ish

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To loosely paraphrase Lyle Lanley from The Simpsons – a die-hard Fringe performing showbo in a 9-5 job is a little like the mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how they got it and danged if they know what to do with it.

 

Such is our understanding when Luna Eclipse takes to the La Boheme stage to convey her perilous decision to pursue a normal job, good accounting practices and the trappings of regular domesticity. Having artistically hip parents, one could pass this off as teenage rebellion if it wasn’t for the fact she is a decade too late for that.

 

The biggest difficulty I have in talking about the show is that it is very hard to describe without disclosing very important revelations about our comedic muse. There is a certain amount of time, place & circumstance about the show as it is, that any pre-knowledge would ruin the emotional empathy we have for her journey from hazelnut spread delirium to computational device rage.

 

luna

 

I can say there is music, burlesque, comedy (the most hilariously expressive eye movements in the business) and what I will describe as an audience participatory IVF game. I will also say that this is another highly citable example of an Australian burlesque aristocrat who is raising the bar by making a very personal story fit for the stage. In a world where burly-vaudeville is becoming as spontaneous as competitive ballroom dancing, Adult-ish is a drunken conga line with a limbo pole.

 

That should be reason enough to get a ticket for the remaining performances. See if she is still gainfully employed by the end of the week – anything could happen!

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 28th 2016 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

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