Burlesque should be sensual and intimate, but there was nothing sensual about the large function room of the Big Slapple, aka the 48 Lounge at the Adelaide Convention Centre. It is certainly designed for a large audience, full of table seating, but I honestly think this show would do better with a longer run and a smaller venue. Much of the vibrant beauty of the dancers was lost in such an ugly space.
Instead, the performance felt like the obligatory formal dinner at the end of a function, complete with an irritating cabaret singer/presenter. While it was opening night, there was no reason to forget the dancers’ names or the run order of the show; indeed, the sensual atmosphere was further degraded between burlesque acts by her feeble attempts at humour, which left the audience silent and uncomfortable.
Even the inappropriate venue could not mask the talent of the performers though. Burlesque celebrates the ‘jiggle’ of womanhood and these dancers celebrated the diverse nature of feminine beauty, all equally sexy despite their varying heights and sizes. The stand out was the Strawberry Siren, the current Miss Burlesque Australia, who brought not only her gorgeous self to the stage but also a myriad of props including a giant rose which closed provocatively over her mostly naked body.
The most surprisingly inclusion in the show was the male burlesque dancer – yes, they exist apparently – Russell Bruner from the United States. While his performances seemed to lean more towards a dark circus/vaudeville vibe than teasing burlesque, he was the most purely entertaining of the dancers and probably the only one who could have held his own in a solo act.
You will have to make up your own mind about this performance, because I cannot decide one way or another. The venue and cabaret singer overshadowed the entire show for me, but it would also be a shame to miss out on such a talented, engaging cast of burlesque dancers.
Reviewed by Emily Francine Palmer
Venue: The Big Slapple, Adelaide Convention Centre, North Terrace, Adelaide
Season: 20 February – 1 March 2014
Duration: 65 minutes
Tickets: $33.00 – $38.00
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or call 1300 621 255
Disclosure: Emily has been employed as a ticketing officer at the Garden of Unearthly Delights.