Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The House of Burlesque: Shipwrecked in Bury St Edmunds

Well, here's a turnip for your cookbook!

Last night, things got a bit fruity on the South side of town, with Bury St Edmunds' prestigious Theatre Royal playing host to the House of Burlesque, performing their latest show, Shipwrecked, a tale of a group of young ladies stranded on an island.

It was billed as a slightly naughty, nautical and thoroughly unsinkable experience, and as a blushing Burlesque virgin, I really had no idea what to expect.

But I can certainly say that from the very outset it was an eye-watering experience, not least because a trapped eyelash made my eyes stream during the opening scene, which meant I couldn't see a damn thing for the first ten minutes and had to make a discreet exit to calm my own dramatic censorship.

Thankfully, with my eye-sight problems quickly resolved, I returned to my seat just in time for an experience that was filled with spectacular and cleverly choreographed performances featuring hula hoops, feathers and tassels.

The very animated audience responded with whoops and applause to the tasteful and delicately-performed striptease routines and raucous laughter filled the theatre during the more comedic moments, which were indeed plentiful.

My personal favourites were the glittering and majestic performance of burlesque comedienne Audacity Chutzpah, who was most definitely the queen of mime and could make you laugh with just a single expression. And the very talented Tempest Rose was not just a fabulous host but tantalised the audience beautifully with her performance as the Voodoo Queen of Burlesque.

Even though I recovered quite happily from my eyelash incident, my eyes didn't dry up during the entire performance. From the moment I was back at my seat, they streamed with tears of laughter and the audience participation scenes made my sides ache.

The show was so superb, I hope the House of Burlesque returns for another billing next year and it would be great to see it featured on the annual programme.

There are many who could describe it more eloquently, but for me, my introduction to Burlesque was a wonderful mixture of glamour and comedic entertainment, and could be deemed adult pantomime at its finest.

And judging by the reaction of the rest of the audience - which bonded most wonderfully during the imaginary tassel twirling tutorial - I have a sneaky feeling that I'm not the only one to think so!

So, to the directors of the Theatre Royal, I have just one word.... and that one word is...