LIVE REVIEW / BURLESQUE BEAUTIES (***1/2)
ADELAIDE FRINGE FESTIVAL @ THE RHINO ROOM / Sunday March 6th 2011
As many of you may know all too well (and will happily remind me of if ever the opportunity arises
) my blog has absolutely no journalistic credibility... HA HA HA duuude, I DON'T KNOW SHIT!! You've seen it all for yourselves, gathered more than enough "damning evidence"
, you know it to be true! Spoz's Rant is little more than a pissy facade, a satire, a recurring joke in search of a punchline ill conceived, and yet? you've come to begrudgingly accept, appreciate, maybe even love in a weirdly masochistic way, all, or at least some of my near incoherent ramblings on music and bands I don't have the first fucking clue about
(AND HOW!), not because I necessarily deserve any praise for this (I most certainly don't and you should really stop encouraging me!) but because when it comes to covering the Adelaide scene? yup, I'm pretty much all there is
... awesome huh!? (HA HA HA I know! it makes me wanna blow my brains out with a shotgun too, AND I'M THE ONE WHO WRITES IT!?). Yup I'm just a "bachelor of attendance" with a compact camera in hand
, it's true! I don't have any qualification, justification or reason to be here. I am no rock & roll historian, writer or photographer. I'm neither fashionably "hipster androgynous" with cat-like features, a female with an amateur SLR film fixation
, nor has any viral 4chan meme, ipad app or tumblr account ever been accredited to my name; pfft... I'm over the age of thirty ferfucksake! I HAVE NO AUTHORITY HERE!! And yet I'm still here living it up: being that clueless antithesis to all the above
, being that "recurring joke" for the Adelaide scene that more and more of you wondrous freaks have willingly participated in over the years (and why wouldn't you duuude? it's freaking hilarious!
) only to arrive here at Rhino Room tonight where suddenly being all THAT and more...? yup, is only gonna come back to HAUNT me!
And the reason WHY? is because I'm crazy enough to cover this show: "Burlesque Beauties" for the Adelaide Fringe Festival
; or more accurately I've accepted an invite to "review it" courtesy of Clare "Moon Daze" Nica (yup she's the one up front... I think blue's a good colour on her!) only for it to suddenly dawn upon me (ie: once I stopped laughing like an imbecile over just how awesome my "job" is) that I truly am the last person alive who should be reviewing this
. And not just because it appears to be waaay out of my jurisdiction (as to be fair there IS a teeny bit of singing
so it still kinda qualifies as coverage on the Adelaide music scene *cough* totally!) but no THINK about it! Picture me at a burlesque show, like any other show: standing out front, beer in hand, grinning like a prize jackass
taking photos, video... ON A COMPACT CAMERA? it's SOOOO not gonna work right!? And if I stand at the back of the room taking photos instead it'll only look worse! Hell, even if I brought me a fuckoff professional looking DSLR with a telephoto lens
and had an official looking "Spoz's Rant" press pass laminate hanging from my neck, it's still gonna be creepy! In fact it even feels awkward me taking notes on my phone... FUUUCK!! there's NO way I could possibly win here! And not just because I run the silliest live music blog in Adelaide
and I'm not even in the least bit qualified to do so (because hey that's a joke that only gets funnier!) but more because I'm single, white, male, in my early to mid 30's going to a burlesque show... and I kinda look like Manny from Black Books
, and I'm reviewing it, for a blog? FUUUCK CLARE, WHY DID I EVER AGREE TO THIS!?
But hey I DO love a challenge, and how could I possibly say "no" to this!? sheeeiit! I might have a deathwish but I'm NOT AN IDIOT!! And so before we proceed any further? I should probably make two things abundantly clear. Firstly I'm here in an official reviewing capacity only... I'm NOT here for cheap thrills. No, don't laugh! (oh go right ahead) I'm being dead serious! I may be the dumbest example of the "male condition"
but I'm STILL a gentleman and a professional (a professional what? aaaah who the fuck knows!) so I'll try to be nothing but the most analytical AND impartial in what I'll write
and not ONCE will I resort to using such terms as: boobies, babylons, titties, jubblies, hooters, honkers OR bazoombas to elicit cheap laughs, and aaaah fuck it... who are we kidding?
this'll be nothing but an embarassment! but at the very least I'll try to keep that to a minimum. Secondly save for that first establishing shot outside of Rhino Room?
NONE of these photos are mine (because let's face it if I did take any of them I'd be thrown out!) and no I don't know quite who to credit for most of them (and yes please let me know if they're yours so I can credit you?) but those three final ones ARE courtesy of Harmony Nicholas (and yes you should totally check her website out
, it'll totally make your eyeballs implode!). *PHEW* and now that I've finally got that ridiculous (and as we'll soon see utterly redundant) disclaimer out of the way? on with the show!
Now for those of you uninitiated: Burlesque Beauties is a burlesque show quite like upteen billion OTHER "burlesque shows" that the Adelaide Fringe Festival is clearly waaay beyond retarded for
, because HA HA HA EVERYONE LOVES BURLESQUE RIGHT!? (ie, see: Burlesque Upon A Time
, A Right Royal Burlesque
, Burlesque Assassin
, A Doll's House
, Skitch Tease
, Strip The Light Fantastic
, Noir Revue
or Strumpets Of Sass
to name but a few this year... stifle the yawn?) only with a twist. The "twist" being that THIS particular "burlesque show" also incorporates standup comedy: something we're told used to be routine back in the 50's, only they since went their separate ways, "AND NOW THEY'RE TOGETHER AGAIN!? WAHOOO!!" And yes they might have emphasised that point hoping FOR said reaction, as much as it kinda fell on deaf ears. As much as the comedy itself? also came with "mixed results". Our first, the infamous Dave Callan: beardly enigma with the goofy accent
, acted as our host. And as a host he was understated brilliance: couldn't put a foot wrong! duuude, he had us all in the palm of his hands from beginning to end! As a standup comedian however? complete and utter bollocks. I mean when a good part of your routine involves cracking half-arsed "Adelaide jokes" on FruChocs and the Dequetteville Terrace roundabout? you know you're running on empty. The other standups however, namely Michael Bowley
and Lawrence Mooney
faired a lot better; especially the latter who had us all in stitches (I forget how exactly but he was freaking hilarious!) as much as all the emphasis made on this show being a momentous reunion not seen since the 50's? the comedy itself merely served as a nuisance distraction from the burlesque itself. Presented as a sequence of eleven dance routines (complete with mild striptease
) we were initially coached in how we should applaud each one by Dave Callan: namely with lots of loud shrieking, howling, hollering, cheering and general rambunctious bawdiness
. While in turn each dance routine would whip us into said frenzy, whilst simultaneously schooling us with a retrospective to burlesque as seen from the 1940's, 50's and 60's (and we're told... 2008?). And yes the performers (most of whom who's stage names I've long since forgotten?
) were simply brilliant at it. They relished their roles to a T: bubbling to the brim with colourful personalities, oodles of cheek and charm, and a coy interplay between roaring titilation and "wink-wink" tease. One in particular that didn't even involve any undressing but simply Clare "Moon Daze" Nica singing in a breathless cabaret style?
(reminiscent to a Beth Gibbons from Portishead) proved especially mesmerising, it brought chills! But each had their own memorable quirk. From balloon popping
, giant lollipops (potentially the "oookiest" on a Lolita level
), to a Hawaiian theme, a striptease to the song "Fever"
, silver 60's go go dancers
and a particularly bizarre routine
done to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
, there was never a dull moment. But as much as the performers gave their all, the crowd simply failed to reciprocate. I mean to be fair it's not like we were expecting a fullblown riot from a Sunday here. But with the mix being predominantly middle aged and comfortably suburbanite, with a whole host of silver haired retirees to boot? calling it "luke warm" would be an understatement. And being dead sober myself? (dry ginger ale... HURRAH!!) it's not like I was going to rock the boat here either. But even so, just whooping it up "mildly" (because hey, that's what we're here for riiight? LET'S GO NUTS!!
) I still found myself adopting a volume slightly below that of the loudest "polite applause" in the room so I wouldn't embarass myself; yeaaah it just felt too politically correct. As much as the stripping itself very much erred on the safe side to warrant it perhaps
(as it wasn't at all surprising how quickly we grew tired of cheering on someone taking their gloves off again and again AND AGAIN) so there was definitely an odd "disconnect" at play. Between a stage show giving us their all in the most authentic and enthusiastic take on 40's, 50's and 60's burlesque: and crowd sorely lacking in era appropriate drunken soldiers "stationed on the frontlines"
absolutely losing their shit in riotous response; or at least that's how it kinda felt here until they unveiled the eleventh and final act...
Because they definitely DID leave the best till last: and by "the best" I totally mean the most eye gougingly hilarious answer
to that lingering question we had since the beginning of the show, ie: when they mentioned they were going to show "the best of burlesque from the 1940's, 50's, 60's and 2008", only to leave us wondering what the deal was with 2008? no really... WHY SO WEIRDLY SPECIFIC!? Only for Dave Callan to return to the stage at the end, whip his shit off down to a black unitard and join the girls in a rendition of Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"
from 2008. And yes I know it's been done before, you need only look it up on youtube for countless pisstakes examples
, but it's a whole different matter when you see it happening live in front of you and it's Dave Callan
. And that Sunday night crowd that was ever so polite, quiet and reserved before? oh believe me they're holding nothing back now, duuude they're going fucking beserk out there! and I can't say I blame them either. For as mentally scarring as this shit was (and aren't you glad I don't have it on video?
) it SO wouldn't have been the same without it. Burlesque Beauties...? BRAVO!!
*cough* yup, this is SO gonna come back to haunt me isn't it...? DAMN YOU FRINGE FESTIVAL!!
Previously on Spoz's Rant: Live Review / Rachel Cearns