Hurly Burly Burlesque

Photo: whatsonstage.com

On Wednesday I went to the theatre. Now, before you assume I was at some high brow production of Chekov I’ll tell you straight, as if the title of the post didn’t give it away, I went to see a burlesque show and not just any burlesque show! I went to see the Hurly Burly Show, I wasn’t able to get tickets to last weeks press show which was attended by Kylie *le swoon* but that was probably no bad thing as I’d have had trouble concentrating on the girls on stage.

One of the performers actually lives in my neck of the woods although I’ve never actually met her, I’ve seen her around a few times but it seems kinda creepy to me to wander up and say “Hey, I’ve seen your show at the Camden Proud” when what you’re really saying is I’ve seen you near naked. I dunno, perhaps that happens to her a lot. I’d just rather be introduced normally; perhaps I’m just mentally scarred from my time working at the Raymond Revuebar?

Polly Rae and the gorgeous Hurly Burly Girlies

So, to clear one thing up. Burlesque is not the same as a strip show. For a start, burlesque performers don’t get naked; true they don’t leave much to the imagination but that’s kinda the thrill. If you want to see naked girls just search online. What burlesque does offer is the titillation factor combined with song and dance and if you’re lucky a lot of laughter, usually of a bawdy nature.

So how did the Hurly Burly Show fare? Well, I thought it would different as it was in a proper theatre and it was. I’m not sure if some of the audience really knew what they were letting themselves in for. I went alone and was sat between 2 couples. The couple on my right appeared to be married to each other, whilst the American couple on my left appeared to be in the very early stages of courtship. Why do I say that? Well, around 10 minutes into the show I heard her whisper, “Oh my god! She’s showing her boobs!” to which he replied, “Yeah that’s what they do.

As the show went on I realised that my whooping wasn’t going down well with the American girl as she kept giving me dirty looks so I eventually quieted down; the problem with that is a burlesque show practically demands audience participation, in the form to whooping and whistling, to really work well and I fear the audience the night I went were just a bit too reserved. That said, after the interval it livened up a bit, I suspect alcohol lubricated some lips.

Back to the Americans…shortly after the start of the second half I felt a nudge at my shoulder and turned my head slightly to see the guy sliding his arm around the back of the chair in a very not so subtle way. I pretended not to notice and eventually he figured out it was my shoulder and not the girl’s next to him?! When he finally managed to put his arm around her shoulder she rather coolly shifted it and he seemed a bit put out. I suspect taking your date to burlesque without telling her what it involves is not the ideal way to start a date, however I chuckled inside so it was all good, not least because it gave me something to write about here!

Joanna Woodward flanked by Caroline Amer and Stephanie Jayne Thompson

The show itself was fantastic. Pretty hard to fault it. Excellent choreography, a wide array of songs covered, not just covered but reworked in quite surprising styles that all worked well. I particularly liked the versions of the Pet Shop Boys It’s a Sin and Michael Jackson’s Bad but there were songs by Kylie, Britney, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Madonna not to mention a hilarious skit in Coco’s Kitchen where Freddie Mercury gets covered too.

On the night I went Coco Dubois aka Joanna Woodward was the compere and she did a great job of enlivening proceedings with the right blend of naughty but nice humour, she also has an amazing singing voice which, no discredit to the rest of the girls, was to my ear much superior.

However all the girls were extremely talented and very attractive. Together they proved that with something left to the imagination burlesque can be far more arousing than a common strip show. I say that as someone who spent over a year being paid to watch girls strip twice a night, 6 nights a week!

The Hurly Burly Show is on until September and I’d thoroughly recommend it for a good night out, Sophie’s Steakhouse is just around the corner and is open late so I’d skip the pre-theatre dining and go there afterwards as it has a great atmosphere although it doesn’t take table reservations so perhaps not the place to try on a  Friday or Saturday night when it’s likely to be busy, but the bar is open!

Ticket prices vary but do shop around online. I was searching for tickets for next week and found Stalls seats in the same row as I was in on Wednesday for £29.50 on London Theatre Direct and a staggering £82.50 on another site. Do yourself a favour and get a seat in the stalls, you won’t regret it. The Duchess is a relatively small theatre and I’ve been in the dress circle, you’d miss a lot of the enjoyment being up there, unless perhaps you were in the front row.

I certainly hope to return to the show only this time with some company. I felt a little too uncomfortable being a single guy amongst the couples whooping for the girls to disrobe, tho perhaps that was more my problem than theirs. If you want a night of sexy girls, singing, dancing and risqué humour this is the show for you.

Who’s that girl?

Confession Time: it’s Coco Dubois I’ve seen perform before so perhaps I’m just a teensy bit biased but then again The Stage saw fit to place her on the cover of Thursday’s edition so I obviously have good taste!

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