Reviewer: Steven Ireland
The Lowry’s semi-frequent Burlesque show returns to the Quay’s Theatre, with the stalls converted to recreate the table-service burlesque bars of old. Beyond bringing in tables not much has been done to provide period detail, as is admitted by the MC, Rosie Lugosi, “I’d like to say ‘candle lit surroundings’ but they have dimmed the lights!” It all adds to the informal atmosphere, with the audience receiving orders to cheer and whoop at every opportunity.
Lugosi is an excellent host to proceedings. A self-styled, “Lesbian vampire queen,” she’s one part Vampira, four parts Richard O’Brien. From her sparkly purple corset to a pair of boots that could kick a hole in a brick wall, she’s the embodiment of the modern burlesque revival – feminist and feminine; fun and inclusive. Lugosi handles both audience reluctance and over-exuberance with even-handed, good-natured aplomb.
Five acts perform in each half. Three are burlesque dancers, but it’s possibly the two non-dancers that impress the most. Oldham lass Ava Ahotsa appears four times during the night, singing old standards and numbers from classic musicals. There’s nothing unexpected in the set list, but Ahotsa’s voice is superb. In between songs she engages the audience with a breezy, brassy charm. This is her debut with Burlesque and she’s a fantastic addition. Helen Orford’s hula-hooping provides the most impressive performances of the night. She makes what could be an over-familiar variety standard astounding and mesmerising.
Mimi Amor opens the evening’s burlesque performances with an accomplished fan dance, and her second performance is particularly good. Her interpretation of the music is nothing short of brilliant and she brings something new to the form of burlesque, showing it can be more than just a cheeky strip tease.
Eliza Delite’s first dance is notable, too, for trying something a bit different as she closes the first act. Using Turkish delight and clouds of dust from a cushion full of talcum powder, it’s fun in parts but doesn’t quite knit together as whole dance. Her second is a safer, jazz number, and is an accomplished fan dance.
Top billing is given to Havana Hurricane and her hair alone goes some way to justifying it. Her first half dance is good if unexciting, but with a stirring dance to Jimi Hendrix’s Foxy Lady she brings this celebration of women to fitting climax.
Reviewed on 4 April 2015