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House of Burlesque: Shipwrecked – The New Theatre, Cardiff

Reviewer: Megan Pearce


There may still be some remaining piles of snow and ice outside, with rain pouring in a typical Welsh fashion – but in House of Burlesque: Shipwrecked women are taking their clothes off. Burlesque has been growing in popularity with the help of Dita Von Tease, and burlesque companies have been popping up all over the country.

The show gets straight to it with the compere, Miss Tempest Rose, telling you how you should react, “When you give more, the girls take off more”! Miss Tempest Rose makes it okay for the audience to act naughty with wolf whistles and heckling.

Once the audience has learnt their place the burlesque is allowed to commence. Throughout the night the audience are treated to beautiful women of all shapes and sizes, laying (nearly) everything bare. One of the most spectacular performances is with two dancers wearing balloon skirts. They dance to Splish Splash I Was Taking A Bath while cheekily popping each other’s balloons to reveal more and more.

The House of Burlesque’s main attraction has to be their exciting array of costumes. The compere alone changes at least six times; from a jungle lady, to a sailor, to a mermaid. It seems mad to have such amazing costumes only to take them off.

Abigail Collins is then introduced – providing a completely new spin on burlesque. She is coarse, rude but yet extremely witty. She can put a heckler down in an instant and then proceed to do the splits across audience members – an incredible feat to witness.

Every so often a break is taken from the cabaret for a song or some audience participation. The singing does not work so well and breaks up the night somewhat. All of the other acts are tongue in cheek and constantly hilarious, so when it comes to a singing number the atmosphere of the night seems to dip. To commence the second half Miss Rose teaches the audience how to use nipple tassels effectively. The whole concept is great, especially as male volunteers have to demonstrate the act on stage. This part of the audience participation fits perfectly into the language of the show – going round and talking to everyone who had a birthday drags immensely.

If you have never been to see burlesque before then The House of Burlesque is splendid – but don’t expect to be eased in gently. Amazing dancers, costumes and bodies. A plethora of laugh out loud and utterly shocking moments.

Runs until 26th January 2013.

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