By: Alexandra Shaw
Reviewer: Simon Topping
Alexandra Shaw, as Fanny Dent, shows her audience that burlesque doesn’t have to be sexy to be creative, fun and good to watch.
Bursting onto the stage to traditional striptease music, in a glitzy golden outfit, Dent starts to peel off her long black gloves with her teeth. Suddenly she stops. This isn’t what she wants to be doing. Burlesque was started by the Victorian’s to parody and ridicule the difficult aspects of life and the establishment, Dent reveals, and it has been taken over by “sexy people”. She wants to reclaim the art form and take it back to its origins.
Firstly Dent shows us the three typical styles of modern burlesque; the traditional, the cheesecake and the dominatrix. All three are performed with great comedy timing and mocking disdain. The dominatrix especially raises laughs in the tent as she uses a whip and screams at the audience.
Following these examples, Dent asks us if we would like to see burlesque being performed in a more interesting way. The crowd roars yes in agreement. The performer then takes us on her journey through Burlesque, from her very first striptease to her competing in Burlesque Idol, with some fabulous random interludes on the way.
The highlights of the show include the angry office worker strip, as she trashes the office and raises the middle finger to her employers, her fight with a giant tampon and the self love piece where she dances as a duo, with a coat stand.
Shaw is a confident and engaging performer. She is at her best being silly. The self love dance particularly shows this off. She is a good physical comedian and the piece is very well put together. All the stripteases are accompanied by amazing soundtracks and Dents final costume has to be seen to be believed as it lights up the stage.
The narrative behind the burlesque pieces reveals a person that is not always confident, someone riddled with doubt and self critical voices, so it is heart-warming to see that, even if those negative voices partially persist, Shaw can command an audience well and give a fabulous theatrical display.
Reviewed On 22nd May.