Reviewer: Dave Cunningham
Recent productions of ‘Burlesque! At the Lowry’ have flirted with the mainstream. The current version makes a welcome return to basics with acts that fit into the simple definition of an art form where clothes are taken off. It is, however, impressive to see the variety of acts that can be squeezed into such an apparently narrow classification. The styles run from classic to contemporary and include hybrids with elements of the carnival and comedy.
Wearing what looks like Cheryl Cole’s cast-offs Crimson Skye is a surprise hostess whose lengthy digressions contribute to the show over-running badly. Buxom Havana – Hurricane Burlesquer kicks off both halves of the show in fine style with genuine bump and grind numbers.
Suzie Sequin takes inspiration from icons and music. As a Marilyn Munroe lookalike she scatters both rhinestones and clothes around the stage. A dark outfit and hairstyle contribute to a sultry interpretation of ‘Black Velvet’.
Coco Malone brings a taste of cabaret to the evening. Her approach to the material is surprisingly respectful in such a raucous show. She goes so far as to adopt an American accent when singing but retains her native British one when addressing the audience mid-song. It brings a strangely artificial aspect to what is clearly intended to be authentic.
Constance Peach provides sharply contrasting numbers. After a subtle and quite lovely classic fan and feathers dance she returns with a more ambitious but less satisfying ‘artistic’ routine. This is one occasion where simple is better.
There is an uneasy element of self-mutilation to Ivy Wilde’s dance. She incorporates the carnival ‘blockhead’ act (where a geek hammers nails into his nose) and hot dripping wax to her Halloween costume but her slight frame provokes a sense of sympathy rather than amusement.
The athletic Terrylene Tetracycline Tru-Love offers something for everyone- comedy, music and a contortionist routine with hula-hoops. Explaining that her perfume is ‘White Trash’ and her mission to bring country music into the 23rd Century she merges the genre with rap under the title ‘C-Rap’.
The ‘back to basics’ approach of the current production at The Lowry proves that the Burlesque genre remains as intriguing and entertaining as ever.