Theatre Review: Australian Burlesque Festival


Coco Lectric

Coco Lectric

Presented by Green Fairy
Reviewed 19 June 2014

Over two smouldering evenings, the Australian Burlesque Festival national tour sashayed into Adelaide; a sumptuous and sultry array of local and international burlesque performers led by the indomitable chanteuse/master of ceremonies, Layla.

Opening with a sultry ditty along the lines of whatever Layla wants, Layla gets, the audience is veritably ordered to take off our coats, order ourselves a stiff drink and to be as raucous and appreciative of the upcoming bevy of beauties as we see fit. Layla was most persuasive; either by means of a coercive lap shimmy or by ordering us to surrender our smart phones, (or as she delicately warned, she would take them and stick them into any orifice she saw fit, until we stopped enjoying it), we were suitably pre-warned that the upcoming performances were to be tantalizingly risqué.

The program opened with a local Adelaide quartet, The Gin House Floozies, who delivered a delightful, feisty performance replete with comic and cleverly choreographed footwork. This was immediately followed by acts with a bewildering array of costumes and props including gondolas, blow up crocodiles and psychedelic nurses popping psychotropic pills, in an outfit replete with external organs. Unsurprisingly the evening quickly descended into a debauched cacophony of feathers, slinky silhouettes, sneakily bared behinds and sequined, gyrating nipple tassles (available for purchase!).

Throughout the performances the charmingly indefatigable Layla ran a tight show, ensuring the audience was suitably entertained between acts and, bursting into song every now and again, delivered wonderful performances with a surprisingly astounding vocal range reminiscent of Minelli. The Nexus Cabaret venue proved to be an intimate setting, allowing much audience participation by those who dared, as well as those who were not given a choice.

Highlights of the evening included Coco Lectric (USA), whose classical dance training made for a show-stopping performance, and Bella De Jac, reigning Miss Burlesque Queensland, who proved to be a sublime closing act, using elegantly oversized Chinese fans to exquisitely amplify her sensual performance. Although all the artists were bombshells, the performers who incorporated additional accoutrements, such as De Jac, made the act of taking their clothes off quite secondary to their overall mystique, which is very much at the crux of effective burlesque: enchantment, chimera and intrigue proved to be as breathtaking and arguably more erotic than sheer nudity.

That being said, there was plenty of female flesh on show. If that’s your thing, make sure you try and catch the Burlesque Festival next year, if not take a peep at some of our local acts, such as the Floozies.  The gals won’t disappoint, I promise.

Reviewed by Jordana Lennox

Venue: Nexus Mulitcultural Arts Centre, Lion Arts Centre, Adelaide
Season: season ended


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