Reviewer: Jo Beggs
The Lowry’s regular burlesque night returns with a little Christmas sparkle, at least among the enthusiastic audience who are clearly already well and truly geared up for the festive season. There’s plenty of the regulars here who’ve taken the invitation to ‘dress to impress’ very seriously and are eye-poppingly gorgeous in their basques, frills and heels. Unfortunately a lot of the best dressed are hidden in the upper circle rather than at the cabaret tables where they’d have really added to the glamour – but there is a less well attired but suitably rowdy table of women at the front who almost make up for it. The cabaret set-up, red décor and great turnout gives the Quays Theatre the required nightclub feel and there’s an excited buzz even before the show starts.
So there’s not much warming up needed for this crowd, which is a good thing because host Rosie Lugosi’s initial pitch is less than rousing. In fact, Lugosi is, rather disappointingly lacking in energy and wit throughout, delivering repetitive introductions to acts and playing rather half-heartedly with the audience. She’s rather more overbearing maths teacher than the vampiric dominatrix she purports to be.
Previous outings of Burlesque at the Lowry have been more of mixed cabaret. Tonight burlesque is served up for starter, main course and dessert, only briefly punctuated with a few songs from Eva Fox. Fox is the perfect burlesque vocalist, managing to incorporate a whole lot of dirty talk in between belting out old favourites like Proud Mary and Big Spender. In the first half she easily wins over the audience, in the second they’re up and dancing.
Even if the variety of acts is limited, though, tonight’s burlesque performers are top notch. Jeanie Wishes opens the show with a Marilyn Monroe number and later performs a great signature piece as a genie complete with giant lamp. The very lovely Cece Sinclair brings a touch of animal behaviour to a soundtrack of Wild Thing and swirls out of a red dress to Venus.
Best of all though, are the wonderfully timeless moments in the programme. Whisky Falls performs a sensuous dance of many more than seven veils while Verity Grey mashes up Swan Lake with a classic fan dance with consummate grace. Perhaps the highlights of the night, though, are from the tremendous Lulu Macaroon. Not only has she got what might be the best burlesque name ever, she’s a talented dancer and looks totally fabulous. Curvy and cute, she brings old school charm to a classic 1940s number as she shimmies out of a long ball gown, and later performs a flawless, cheeky Charleston as she drops silver tassels all over the floor.
There’s a great end to the night as Ginger La Rouge strips off a shimmering golden dress before splashing about in a giant vodka martini. It’s the title sequence of a Bond movie happening live in front of your eyes – and makes for a delightful and fitting finale.
Reviewed on 6 December 2014