The Great Maritime Burlesque Tour, a collaboration of Pink Velvet Burlesque and Great Canadian Burlesque, rolled through town Thursday night on the snap of a feather boa. It was a great time from the host “Rouge Fatale”, through all the dancers (from Halifax: Miss Cadence, Kitty Le Coque, Kay Licious / from Toronto: Fiona Flauntit, Tanya Cheex, Dolly Berlin) right down to Mysterion the Mind Reader!
American Burlesque, refers to performances in a variety show format which were popular from the late 1800′s to sometime in the 1940s, often in cabarets and clubs, as well as theatres, and featured comedy and female striptease. Some Hollywood films included burlesque-style scenes in the films, such as 1972′s Cabaret and lately there has been a resurgence in interest in the format some tend to call “Neo-Burlesque”. There are even large Burlesque festivals like the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, the Toronto Burlesque Festival (which most of the performers in this show have been too) and the Miss Exotic World Pageant.
Rouge Fatale started us off right from the get go in with style in her colourful “Moo-moos” and brilliant wit and took us on a fun ride throughout the evening. Rouge, voted the best drag-queen in Halifaxfor the last four years, has a capers wit and the mouth to back it up. She is a longtime performer around Halifax and a headliner at Casino Nova Scotia. She takes you through the evening with skill and will literally have tears streaming down your face with the parody in some of her songs.
Most hear the work “Burlesque” and think it’s simply a ‘strip show”, but it’s far from it. Each performer carefully plans out her costume down to the last minute detail, adapting it to the theme/skit that they plan to work it around. They involve prop items, and interpret little stories as they perform, mixing in humor, fun, and a little sensual energy (one in this show even doing a skit based on the movie “Mars Attacks…complete with Alien!…played by Mysterion in a mask). A lot of these misconceptions can have their blame laid upon amateur burlesque where a number of shows emphasis has been heavily on the ‘strip’ and far less on the ‘show’. Tonight was a delightful soiree where I noticed that none of those performing simply stripped with little charm or flair and received tremendous audience reaction, whereas in past some performers (a term I use loosely) I’ve seen simply ‘stripped’ off their colourful outfits while the audience watched with disinterest.
The resurgence of burlesque is almost staggering when you look and see how much is actually out there, a form of entertainment that many thought died in the time of tommie guns and gangsters. It is a global form of entertainment, that is growing every year in it’s rebirth. The show tonight simply was about entertainment and fun, with two sections dedicated to Mysterion the Mind Reader, who dazzled us with tricks of mentalism, bending silverware, and blindfolded stunts. Rouge sang us a two wonderful songs, and the girls danced…I even saw one gal (Kitty Le Coque) do her entire act with a hula-hoop that never once stopped spinning…we even had vintage clothing and accessories being sold in the corner along with pics of the performers that could be autographed after the show.
If you get the chance to see either of these great troupes perform whether together or individually, the acts take you on a wonderful ride through the night, with humour, song and some fishnet stockings. I highly recommend it as an alternative for adults to broaden their horizons and laugh, and just have a general all around fun time! Until next time!