BURLESQUE REVIEW – THE SLIPPERY BELLE – FRIDAY 19TH JUNE 2009 BOOKBINDERS MINSHALL STREET. MANCHESTER.
Three friends accompanied me to this show, and another friend was in the audience having seen my mention on my Facebook page of my plans to attend. They all seemed to have a great time, as did I and given the quality of the performances, that is hardly surprising.
It was pouring down with rain as we queued to get in, but several acts of spontanious kindness took place that more than compensated for the appalling weather. We stepped back to allow some of the ladies in elegant evening dresses to have the shelter afforded by the awnings over the main entrance to Bookbinders, while two of my pals volunarily crossed the road to take shelter in a doorway there. One of the Bookbinders barmaids arrived and as she went in, she offered us use if her brolly which we returned to her once we got in. A few minutes later, one of the security staff came out to open more awnings, giving more of us shelter from the tempest and a chance for my pals to come back over from the opposite side of the road.
We went in as the doors opened, the umbrella was returned to its rightful owner, and we got seats close to the stage.
DR SID provided music from the swing era and lots of ultra-cool jazz classics to set the mood for the evening, before BELLA BESAME, in a lovely prom dress. stepped forward to compeer the show magnificently.
TOKYO TEASE was the first dancer, making her debut with a stunning assured routine with large pink fans, long dark stockings, turning fishnet from above the knee to her short white skirt, and fluttering her long eye-lashes towards the audience. She wore a pink rose in her long hair, and lay on the floor to use the fans as a clam, opening and closing around her like a sea shell.
After the long round of applause for Tokyo died down, Bella introduced the MAID, Oola-La, the brave girl who was to suffer the compeer’s wisecracks and occassional slaps, and smacks to the rear from our hostess as she recovered the props and discarded costume items for the various dancers.
CECILIA ROUGE presented a variation on the fan dance, with smaller darker fans, a bikini-like outfit and balletic elegance as she stripped quickly and tantalizingly to her tassels.
BEAU BURLINGTON was the third dancer, performing the funniest routine of the night as a drunken Maria Antoinete, not so much calling out ‘let them eat cake’ as eating all the cakes herself, and even wearing cakes as part of her spectacular tall wig. As she spilt crumbs and icing on her dress, she chose to remove the garment, only to spill more crumbs on her undergarments, and feeling compelled to take those off too. Her timing and miming were absolutely superb.
COCO MALONE drew the first part of the show to a close with her beautiful haunting renditions of three songs, presenting Come Rain Or Come Shine, Whatever Lola Wants & That Old Devil Called Love.
During the interval, (and again in the second break) dancers from the Lindy-Hop troop, a jitterbug, jive & Charleston dance class run in Manchester, entertained the audience with some very stylish steps – They were not officially part of the Burlesque show, but they clearly love the chance to show their skills and few could tire of seeing them in action like this.
CECILIA ROUGE returned to open the second part, in a dark fox-fur, blue corsetry, and very stretchy stockings, and she made lots of eye contact with her audience.
Bella behaved suitably beastlty to the Maid, smacking her across the buttocks to gear her into working harder and when considering applying similar abuse to the other cheek, which the Maid seemed very willing to have done right away, but Bella deferred the punishment to later.
WILLOW BLUE, an established favourite at Slippery Belle, came out to dance next, starting out in a blue dress, sitting by a table on which a basket full of clothes was carefully placed. Willow mimed beautifully to a song about Satin & Lace, as she rummaged through the basket, discarding the very unfashionable garments there, as well as her own clothes, until reduced to a satin bra & panties, before leaving to much applause.
Bella proved to be a perfect romantic match-maker. Realizing that a man and a lady sitting at separate tables had something of a liking for one another, she acted as a go-between to establish contact and promises from them to dance together later. How sweet.
TOKYO TEASE returned for her second ever performance, dancing to Marylin Monroe’s Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend, as she discarded clothes until she wore rhinestone-diamond panties and showered herself in a spectacular spray of glitter, creating quite a challenging clean up task for the Maid, and another chance for Bella to be mean to the young lady. (The house elves in the Harry Potter books are not so suffering and don’t seem to enjoy the fact quite as much as the burlesque show maids do).
MISSY MALONE was presented as a headline act, having an international reputation as a great burlesque performer, circus trapeze artiste, and having appeared in a Bollywood movie. It was not surprising that she was exceptional (and any of the other ladies dancing at the show deserve such acclaim too). Missy danced to I Put A Spell On You, moving with feline stealth, confidence and some speed, making cat-like scratching movements in the air and wearing the reddest shade of lip-gloss I have ever seen. She was truly breath-taking.
Another drinks break followed, with more dancing by the the Lindy-Hop team, and some table top magic performed by MISTER MAGIC, Slippery Belle’s resident conjurer. He impressed my friends by performing a card trick which involved correctly identifying separate hidden cards for two of them similtaniously.
WILLOW BLUE performed as a Vegas style show-girl, with a small cane, dancing sublimely. When she finished, Bella took up the cane to shout ‘None shall Pass’, a line from Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie. She also made use of the cane to administer a second blow to the poor Maid’s backside, inviting the audience to remind her which cheek had not been smacked the previous time. Many of us cruelly suggested she should smack both, but Bella was merciful enough to only smack the Maid the once.
COCO MALONE returned in her lovely blue dress to perform three numbers, Trouble Trouble Trouble & Summertime being the first two. She then discarded the dress, to perform All That Jazz in her black silky undergarments, reminding us that she is an accomplished burlesque dancer as well as a fabulous chanteuse.
BEAU BURLINGTON was the penultimate act, arriving on stage already stripped down to panties and tassels, giving herslef a modicum more modesty with two small fans, dancing slowly at first but quickly speeding and heating up the tempo.
Bella arranged a very funny competition, inviting four single men from the audience to dance with her and woo her with their charm, in a Blind Date kind of way, and allowing the audience to choose which of them was the best such date – it was not an easy decision to make. The deserving winner got a prize presented by Dr. Sid.
MISSY MALONE drew the burlesque cabaret part of the show to a stunning conclusion in her leapard-skin skimpy outfit, and swirling a transparent cloth with perfect timing and precision, to remind us why she is one of the great stars on the burlesque circuit.
Bella thanked the performers, bar staff, the Maid, etc, and Dr. Sid moved the music forward in time to play the great dance numbers of the Rock & Roll era. I stayed for an hour or so and even danced a little.
My friends, Andy, Gavin & Phil, & Steve all seemed to have fun too – It was a pleasure to introduce them to such wonderful entertainments - And once more the show proved to be a total delight to me from start to finish. I look forward to my next opportunity to attend.
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