According to my good friends at Wikipedia, burlesque is a literary, dramatic, or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. The word derives from the Italian word burlesco, which, in turn, is derived from the Italian word burla – a joke, ridicule or mockery. Now if that sounds rather highbrow and possibly a touch boring, worry not because I was lucky enough to see a fine example of the art form when the Adelphi Theatre recently hosted An Evening of Burlesque.
It’s very difficult to know how much detail to go into when reviewing something like An Evening of Burlesque. This is in many respects a good old variety show – like the ones that used to dominate Saturday night television – but elevated for a mature audience. The evening is hosted by Ms Ivy Paige who establishes an immediate rapport with the audience and gets them into the right frame of mind to enjoy the treats to come. Ivy looks stunning and changes outfits pretty much every time she comes on stage. As well as a normal host, Ivy is a lovely entertainer in her own right. Her song and dance numbers are accompanied by the La Shelia showgirls (Georgia Long, Shelby White, Hannah Michael & Clare O’Connor) with choreography by Jordan Grigg.
As you would expect, there are a variety of acts including singers, dancers, magicians, acrobats, fire eaters and strippers in the lovely form of Belle de Beauvoir and Velvet Jones. Now before you clutch your pearls in shock, this is not the sort of stripping you see in a back street pub on a Saturday afternoon. This was high-quality stripping, slow, sensual, and as there is nudity, leaving room for the imagination. The strips are performed by consummate professionals who know how to move, tease, and hold the attention of everyone, including this 100% signed-up ‘Friend of Dorothy’. We also had male stripping with Sebastian Angelique who proved that you don’t have to be a “Magic Mike” style bump and grind act to excite an audience. No spoilers, but I can honestly say I’ve never seen nipple tassels being twirled in such a unique way before.
Each act had its merits and there were many highlights for me. Marilyn Monroe (beautifully portrayed by Isabella Bliss) was a wonderful example of how to keep a legend alive and bring them into the 21st century. The performance included some very funny audience participation – the old adage about avoiding the front row of the stalls definitely applied to this show. Saucy David Jnr brought his unique charm and talent to the stage with an act worthy of a Las Vegas headliner. Singer, first-rate tap dancer and total flirt, Saucy David really was a superb part of the show. As was former ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ finalist Christian Lee whose machine-gun comedy and magic show had the audience in stitches. As did Matt Pang performing a new and I would guess unique version of the Houdini trick of escaping a straight jacket. Again, no spoilers, but a lot of the fun in this act is the preparation and Matt’s interaction with their ‘volunteer’ helpers which was truly inspired. Never one to avoid the spotlight, Sebastian Angelique was back in the second act with a really impressive fire-eating act – something you don’t see enough of these days. Not only was the act amazing – and kids do not try this at home – Sebastian looked spectacular with an outfit that has to be seen to be believed. The last performance I’m going to mention was Isabella Bliss’ Champagne Showgirl performance which was stunning and reminiscent of a bygone age of glamour and beauty that, alas has gone forever.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of An Evening of Burlesque. The performances were first-rate, and the show had a real wow factor that kept the audience enthralled and entertained. To my mind, at nearly three hours, the show was a bit too long and I would personally have tweaked the running order slightly, but these are fairly minor points that don’t detract too much from my positive thoughts about An Evening of Burlesque. I believe the show tours the UK, and beyond and would definitely advise you to get yourself and some friends along if you want an evening of surprises, excitement, and truly awesome entertainment.
Review by Terry Eastham
Roll up, roll up. . . a scintillating night out of sparkling entertainment – the UK’s longest running burlesque show is making its West End debut.
An Evening of Burlesque is the ultimate variety show, blending stylish cabaret, comedy, music, circus and burlesque to light up all your senses.
Boasting world-class entertainers and stars of the stage and screen, prepare for an extravaganza of glitz and glamour!
Expect fun, feathers and fabulous costumes as we pick from the finest selection of specialty artistes, cabaret and circus stars, comedians and champagne showgirls! It’s the perfect night for everyone.
An Evening of Burlesque is filled with artistic spectacle that has enraptured audiences for centuries. This sensational variety show brings together a bounty of beautiful stars for an unrivalled variety show for the 21st Century!
An Evening of Burlesque
London, WC2R 0NS