London Burlesque Week Opening Gala review

Published on nxgzine.co.uk on 27/5/11

NXG does…London Burlesque Week opening gala

The chill in the air was not enough to dampen spirits as the ‘bright, young things’ of the world’s burlesque circuit tittered around the deck of the HMS President in their lacey, and somewhat extravagant, attire. Flappers, sailors, pirates, lingerie models, press and enthusiasts all huddled aboard, drunk with anticipation of the opening performance of London Burlesque Week 2011, Around the World in 80 Minutes.

I was thrilled to have been invited and took along with me my deputy editor, Maz Khan. Dressed in our burlesque best- her in a colourful, lace skirt with curled, bouffant hair, and I with a leather bow-tie, circus ring-leader jacket and shocking red lipstick, we clambered aboard to join the troves of exquisitely-dressed people, busily chatting away about tonight’s impending show.

Our host of the evening was the delightful Miss Ivy Paige, who I must say was the show stealer for myself, and probably many others present. She whittled away the between act waits with nautical innuendos and old sea songs, whilst wearing a corset and a plastic parrot in her hair. Legend has it that she had been aboard all the big ones in her time, and gone down on a few also (ships of course). Miss Paige even treated the gentleman of the audience to a not so private ‘lap dance’, when she crowd-surfed her way through the audience, whilst singing Fever and telling us how it felt to be penetrated by a man’s head/arm/leg“Is this your wife?…not for much longer.”

The show began with a brief fashion show by sponsor Secrets In Lace, where models demonstrated lingerie from their Bettie Page and Dita Von Teese collections. Think vintage back-seam stockings, pink and leopard print.

The first act up was Cardiff foursome, Follie Dollies, who offered up a light, comic Charleston dance routine, followed by a trip to Paris to visit the charming Betty D’Light who, whilst dressed Marie Antoinette, coyly laid out a picnic and stripped to the tune of The Bangles classic, I Want Candy.

We then travelled on to Spain and Egypt before arriving in the Far East, where Marianne Cheesecake performed a light-hearted double act with her feather boa puppet dragon.

Things heated up when two acts brought fire into their routines. Lexi Sexx conjured up some voodoo magic in Louisiana whilst running lit torches up and done her torso and arms, whilst Miss Fatale, who first appeared on stage behind the red glow of a backlit screen, put them out on her tongue.

Things took a turn for the strange when we arrived in the South Pacific with Dutch duo Pinky and Lennart. The act tells the story of a swimmer (a mermaid puppet attached to a person dressed all in black) being chased by a piranha and a great white shark. It was a strange, chaotic mess that I just could not stop starring at. Bemusing to say the least, but intriguing and a welcome change.

One of my other highlights off the night was the vintage burlesque performance by the voluptuous Finnish beauty, Loulou D’Vil, who took to the stage in a gorgeous floor-length gown, complete with white minx, in homage to the late, great days of true Hollywood glamour. Absolutely divine.

The night was topped off (back in London town) by Best Newcomer 2010, Ginger Blush. She performed a hilarious Elizabeth I satire and stripped through a medley of Beyoncé’s Single Ladies, Madonna’s Like A Virgin and her own parody of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air (“the queen with red hair”). She has the audience in absolute uproar and ended the show with a well-earned applause.

God bless Chaz Royal!

For more information on the week’s schedule and for tickets please go to:http://londonburlesquefest.com/

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