Sitting trying not to fall asleep in The Garden of Unearthly Delights for the 11:30pm show of Comic Strip, I caught the end of East End Cabaret. I’ve seen cabaret and burlesque shows in Australia, London and Paris, and was dismayed at the cat calls and screeching which reverberated around the Idolize Spiegeltent.
Imagine my delight then, when the soothingly satirical and witty Asher Treleaven began Comic Strip with a brief tutorial about how to behave during the show. He captured the audience’s attention in his charismatic and only slightly creepy embrace with a few snappy one liners and political jokes and then we were into the good stuff.
Treleaven introduced us to the stunningly beautiful, sensationally funny and seriously sexy Miss Polly Rae. Her mastery of the burlesque art form was a joy to watch. Her expressive face and oh-so-cheeky disposition made it clear why she is the shining star of London’s West End.
There were only two other burlesque performers that night, the buxom beauty Kitty Bang Bang, and the boylesque sensation, Rusty Trombone (yes, ladies, that is a thing!). While Trombone inspired laughter from the entire audience, male and female, and made me wish for a bygone age of men in calf suspenders and top hats, Kitty Bang Bang didn’t quite make me fall in love with her as Miss Polly Rae did. She was funny, charming and flexible but lacked the same je ne sais quoi that Miss Polly Rae exudes with a natural sensuality.
Comedians Pat Burtscher and Gordon Southern were thrown in to give the audience a chance to compose themselves. While Canadian Burtscher and British Southern weren’t the stand out of the evening, they made the audience giggle and I only fantasized about them in feathers and sequins once or twice during their respective acts.
Brilliantly funny, classically witty, and sexy as hell, Comic Strip highlights the best aspects of burlesque. Not for the faint-hearted, unashamedly sexual and fully of debauchery, it is well worth a look this season.
Warning: First two rows will be felt up, wrapped in feathers and (yes!) get wet.
Reviewed by Jenna Woods
Venue: Idolize Spiegeltent, The Garden of Unearthly Delights, Rundle Park, Adelaide
Season: 1-11 March, 15-18 March
Tickets: $25.00 – $28.00
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or phone 1300 621 255