BURLESQUE REVIEW – THE SLIPPERY BELLE - BOOKBINDERS NIGHTCLUB FRIDAY 21ST NOVEMBER 2008
There was a very smooth admissions process, with Bella Besame being the perfect party hostess, greeting everyone as we came in. I’d booked in advance so I got in very quickly, and took a seat close to the stage. I moved the table back slightly to make it easier for performers. A film crew wandered round, capturing much of the event on camera.
The theme for the event was Asylum freak show, and several members of the audience were in appropriate touches of fancy dress. Bella wore a lab coat. One chap wore a makeshift straight-jacket.
After lots of very appropriate lounge music played by Dr. Sid, the show began in earnest.
Bella whipped the audience up with the traditional calls of Hurrah! That would be shouted to each act as the clothes were removed, and introduced the compere for the evening. Guest hostess for the night was ROSIE LUGOSI, the vampire queen of Manchester.
I know Rosie from her hosting of The Creatures Of The Night poetry slams at Manchester’s Green Room up to 2003. As a regular participant in the slams, I always feel that Rosie helped give my own writing career a tremendous boost. Her own performances are always amazing. Here, she dressed in purple, looking like a vampire circus ring MC, and carried a formiddable looking riding crop. On top of Bella’s Hurrah’s we were now to shout Yes Mistress, for our scary dominatrix vampire leader.
LEIGH MON-MERINGUE was the first dancer, and a new act to me. Her sexy nurses outfit was likely to send any patient’s temperature soaring.
Rosie now introduced the Maid. It is a Burlesque tradition to tease and torment the poor lady dressed as a French maid with panties clearly on show, who clears up the discarded clothes and props between dances. Rosie tried to secure the Maid as a potential submissive pet plaything, though the maid was perhaps wisely having none of that. A lady from the audience demonstrated how to be the perfectly passive slave, but the Maid was not going give in. Her resistance was as funny as Rosie’s attempts to seduce her and boss her around.
SCARLET FEVER was now introduced and she came on as Little Red Riding Hoodie, with little interest in going to Grandma’s House (she even alters he sign to send any other travellers off lost in the woods0 before removing more than her hood and running off to the sound of police sirens.
ROSE THORNE came on as Squaw Blimey, performing a sensual rain dance, enjoying the feel of the imaginary rain soaking her down, before disrobing. Most folk undress before a shower. This way was much more fun.
EMERALDE ACE presented her strong woman circus act – one I have seen before, but it is very worthy of repeat performances. Struggling to raise heavy looking dumb-bells, (carried into place so effortlessly by the Maid in advance of her arrival) takes more and more clothes off and somehow finds the strength to lift more by doing so. However, when she removes her bra, her tassled boobs prove to be a weight too great for her to handle.
NARA, QUEEN OF THE NIGHT- An alto singer, rather than a burlesque dancer - It’s a brave lady who presents a vampire act while sharing stage space with Rosie Lugosi, but Nara proved to be exceptional in many ways. Few would dare present genuine operatic arias to a general audience, but Nara carried the songs by Bizet, Purcell & other great composers off with genuine passion and conviction, keeping her audience quite spellbound while enjoying genuinely hillarius banter in between sets. She reminded us that Carmen was a bit of a slut, deserving death for driving her main lover mad. Her voice was in perfect pitch, and I wondered if she might actually cause glass to shatter, and looked at my beer glass hoping not. Fortunately, she didn’t. Her performance ended the first half of the show.
Part two opened with Rosie presenting a song of her own – I knew what was coming as soon as the music started, having seen Rosie sing this before. The Wanking Is Forever number set to the Shirley Bassey Bond theme Diamonds are Forever, is extremely funny, and daring.
ROSE THORNE was the first dancer back on to entertain us, performing as The Elephant Woman, coming on to The Elephant Man film’s main theme music in a black cloak, and with a sack over her head, before stripping away to show her genuine beauty, while wearing a little elephant’s trunk over her nose.
SCARLET FEVER performed as an X-Files style Green faced alien to The Eve Of The War music from The War Of The Worlds concept album, taking off all but her mask, tassels and panties. If I’m ever abducted by aliens, I hope they look like that too.
EMERALDE ACE came on as an Octopus, in a lovely green dress with tentacle extensions. Reading a book on sushi, Emeralde took a meat cleaver to her own tentacles and resorted to a kind of self-canibalism, before taking off her remaining garments to finish.
Rosie and Bella now presented a prize for the best dressed man at the event, and a handful of men were selected but the winner was in no doubt, with even the other contestants voting for him by cheering loudly in his favour – the chap in the straight-jacket won. His prize was a pair of lycra underpants, which he was obliged to put on, before dancing to the stripper with Bella. He accomplished the is with great enthusiasm. He then incurred the wrath of Rosie by taking the gift pants over instead of wearing them to the end of the night. He slipped them back on quickly.
With a closing set by NARA, QUEEN OF THE NIGHT, the show was over, bar the drinking and dancing that would continue for many hours. It was the close of another fantastic burlesque night.
For more details on Slippery Belle events see http://www.myspace.com/bellabesame
See other burlesque reviews by myself at BURLESQUE CONTENTS
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