An Evening Of Burlesque, The Capitol, Horsham, Friday, April 19
It was a surprisingly mixed audience that arrived at The Capitol to see ‘Britain’s biggest burlesque extravaganza’.
Ages ranged from 18 to about 70 with both men and women looking forward to a very different evening of colourful adults-only entertainment.
An Evening Of Burlesque did not disappoint.
Ivy Paige made a highly entertaining compere cracking jokes rich with innuendo and often performing musical numbers, including a breathy version of ‘All That Jazz’ from Chicago.
She was good with the audience too, picking on a pair of lucky/unlucky men sitting in the front row, who were invited up onstage to perform various side-splitting tasks during the show.
Throughout the evening the audience was treated to tasteful stripteases (with the emphasis firmly on ‘tease’) from The Folly Mixtures.
This burlesque quartet appeared several times dressed in a variety of costumes, ranging from ’40s WAF sirens to naughty baseball players.
There were a few solo displays too, including one where Chrys Columbine, arguably the UK’s equivalent of Dita Von Teese, performed a fabulous fan dance.
These performances were camp, cute and didn’t ever feel inappropriate despite a few –ahem – ‘cheeky’ moments that raised more than a few eyebrows.
However, it was not all sauce and skimpy costumes. There was genuine talent on display, as well a few heartstopping moments.
Angie Sylvia’s fire twirling antics had audience members on the edges of their seats as she stroked flames across her arms and legs.
AJ James amazed during his knife-juggling routine, which he performed while precariously perched on a moving cylinder and plank on top of a very unstable-looking stool. He also engaged in some great banter with the audience, getting a lot of laughs with his softly spoken delivery that seemed at odds with his muscular physique.
The enviably talented Chrys Columbine appeared again to perform an elegant striptease while playing a complex piece on the piano.
Kalki Hula Girl also added to the spectacle by dancing with hula hoops in an increasingly eye-popping display of athleticism and skill.
There was even a nod to the true meaning of ‘burlesque’ – parody or comical exaggeration – in a fun send-up of the movie Flashdance performed by Miss Ooh La Lou.
Sparks literally flew as she brought a power tool and welding helmet onstage to complete the performance.
Overall, it was an invigorating evening that succeeded at inflaming the senses with colour, music and magic.
By Lawrence Smith