BURLESQUE REVIEW – THE SLIPPERY BELLE – FRIDAY 17TH APRIL 2009 BOOKBINDERS MINSHALL STREET. MANCHESTER.
With a very smooth admission process, and everyone greeted personally by Bella Besame, the perfect party hostess, I went straight through to the main bar and performance area, to the cool sound of Tenessee Ernie Ford’s 16 Tons, folowed by many other great songs of the 1930’s to 1950’s. D. J. DR SID’s music is always such a contrast to the chart hits and standard track lists played in countless clubs throughout the country.
ROSIE LUGOSI, the Vampire Quen hostess came out suddenly, taking the audience by surprise, and looking amazing in a grey-silver sparkling corset, tight shorts and top hat. We quickly fell into a state of total obedience, and she made sure we knew when to shout Yes, Mistress, before proceeding to introduce the first dancer, Coco Malone.
Coco had performed some stunning musical numbers at the previous month’s show, (BURLESQUE 13). Now she proved to be a fabulous dancer too. She appeared trying to pass herself off as a frumpy middle aged spinster lady in a housecoat and char lady’s hat, but still looked gorgeous before the tease commenced in earnest.
Rummaging around, she discovered some more exotic under-garments, and tried them on, both over her housecoat and instead of it, enjoying herself immensely throughout.
Rosie returned and introduced her butler, DUKE WAYWARD. Traditionally, Burlesque stge areasd are tidied up by a maid between acts, but Rosie had devoured and presumably vampirised many of the maids, or seduced them away, so now it was necessary for her to start to going through the male population instead. The Butler, clearly enjoying his role too much, did his best to be disobedient to have Rosie smack him with her riding crop.
The stage was now set for the second performer, BAMBI LA BEAU, a lady I haven’t seen before. Her startling resemblance to Liza Milnelli meant that it was no surprise that she performed a number from Cabaret, Bye Bye Mien Lieber Herr, a slow sultry strip, making use of a chair, concluding in a beautifully timed fan dance.
The unlikely but brilliant double act of Butler and vampire recommenced with Duke Wayward telling Rosie that she could do and give whatever pleased her. ‘Pain’ suggested someone in the audience, at which point Roie gave him another mild thrashing with her rding crop.
STARLA HAZE came out next, another performer I was seing for the first time. She wore a cute sailor suit, dancing a sweet sailor’s hornpipe before discovering the rum, and stripping to a rocking version of ‘What Shall we do with A Druken Sailor’ and smoking cigars.
In contrast, the next act was a conjuring routine with a difference, THE LETHAL SIDE OF MAGIC, with ALEX D FISHER & LETHAL GEMMA, - I had seen this set at The CABARET FORMERLY KNOWN AS BUCKET (at which I had also performed) but it was an act that was just as funny the second time round. Alex had already demonstarated his prowess as a conjurer with several table top card tricks for the Slippery Belle audience, and now he was showing off his glamourous assistant’s mind reading skills. Unfortunately, she had rather a literal minded approach, and once blind-folded, (with masking tape, held in place with a staple gun), and asked what he had in his hand, indicated the microphone, and what might be in the same wrong hand once Alec put his hand in his pocket. Exasperated by her failure to identify the table fork in hs hand, Alec stuck it in her head, and she was able to identify it from the pain. Funny and brutal.
CRIMSON SKYE, who I have seen several times at Slippery Belle, came out as, in Rosie’s words, ‘A diva of questionable sanity’, in a straight-jacket and panties, as well as a Hannibal Lector mask, singing (not miming) Crazy (the Patsy Cline song) as she shed the mask and tore free of the straight-jacket before dancing around in the near-nude with a severed head called appropriately, Ed.
The first half of
the show ended with more music, from the extraordinary duo, FRISKY AND
MANNISH, with a keyboard player and a punkish lady lead singer, presenting
a brilliant pastiche of just about every form of music known to humanity, with
a Kraftwork keyboard and synthesiser style, and a vocal range that crossed the
entire sound spectrum. They presented Noel Coward singing the best of Lily
Allen, and then had Lily allen reciprocate with one of his numbers. They went through
everythng from nursery rhymes to George Michael’s Careless Whisper. They even
sang The Rythmn is Gonna get Ya in voices turning increasingly Linda Blair in
After an intermission for drinks and a chance for the performers to chill, BAMBI LA BEAU returned to the stage as a Wall Street businessman reading the financial news with increasing despair, but turning to a page offering the wise advice, Forget It – Let’s Dance, and doing precisely that, removing her business suit as she did so, tie, braces, shirt and pants alike. Only her bowler hat gave any illusion of modesty.
Rosie had her Butler strip away some of his layers too, between sets, which he seemed rather happy to do.
COCO MALONE did a novel take on the He Loves Me, He Loves Me not, romantic dream, and moved from removing rose petals to removing her clothes and inhibitions.
STARLA HAZE was introduced by Rosie having the audience sing the opening lines to Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger song, and we fully expected the song to start up as Starla came out, but we were taking the Mistress too literally, as Starla was painted entirely in gold, as Shirley Eaton had been in the Bond film (though obviously not as fatally). She danced a very exotic Eastern promise number, the kind you might see in Sinbad movie, and very beautifully.
Rosie’s Butler tried to beat the gradual strip imposed on him by adding extra layers and gloves, but The Mistress was not easily duped and had him remove those too.
CRIMSON SKYE returned, as a wood nymph, lost in the dark and scary forest in a storm (to great use of sound effects). As Creedance Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising started up, her lycenthropic nature revealed itself as she began to transform, waving her bottom to the audience in sync with the ‘Bad Moon Rising’ line itsef, and develoiping patches of fur in strange places, especially on her palms, upper shoulders and over her breasts.
Rosie had us boo her as a pantomine villain and denounce her as a lesbian bitch, before having the butler remove his shirt.
FRISKY AND MANNISH came back, performing a very masculine vocal take on Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights, a startling medley of tunes, followed by their own special take on Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better, Eternal Flame (The Bangles song) as a Stalker’s anthem, Stevie Wonder’s I Just Caled To Say I Love You as a song for telephone heavy breathing to, and more besides. They performed an encore for an audience who clearly had no desire to see them go.
Rosie closed the night with a song of her own, her very special take on I Will Survive, from the point of view of a vampire who has survived even beyond the grave, and it remained only to thank the performers, the butler, bar staff, Bella Besame, Dr. Sid, etc. Bella made sure the wonderful Rosie Lugosi also received thunderous applause, before Dr. Sid’s music time shfted to 1950’s & 60’s rock & Roll, and I chatted & danced away with friends old & new,. – the end of another lovely night.
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