Arthur Chappell

Create Your Badge


The 21st burlesque event I’ve attended,  and they just keep getting better.  I met with a number of friends, many of who are also regular attendees, in Baa Bar, near to The Voodoo Lounge, and after a few drinks there, we went to join the queue for the show.

The admission process went smoothly, with hostess, BELLA BESAME herself running the box office.

We grabbed a table close to left hand side of the stage area, with Lewis Shaw ending up sat where he was going to get some gentle ribbing from compeer, ROSIE LUGOSI, the self-titled Lesbian Vampire Bitch Queen of Manchester.

Before Rosie launched the show there was MIKEY WONG & the traditional hour of pre-show jazz and easy listening music to ease us all into the night. 1328

Rosie came on to rapturous applause, and insisted we make it more rapturous several times, wanting our hands to smart from clapping so much, and we eagerly complied.

The first dancer was CI-CI CYCLONE, bravely debuting as the opening dance artiste of the night, beginning her routine in a stripey red blouse, darker shaded long red skirt, and a white scarf, she soon took off the skirt to reveal her black stockings, suspenders & underwear. Her top was soon removed too, and she smiled confidently throughout an act that guaranteed we’d see her more often in future. We applauded fiercely again – no prompting from Mistress Rosie required. 1330 1331 1332 1333 1334 1335 1336 1337

Rosie began to tease one of the feistiest and eternally cheerful MAID’s to help with clean up and costume / prop recovery, and the Maid, dressed in pink gingham Southern Belle wear, with a white apron, clearly enjoyed herself a lot. (The Maid 1347 1348  1377  )

CECILIA ROUGE was on next, and her act couldn’t be more of a contrast. She was brought on in a mysterious tent like canvas sphere, and the lights were dimmed. Within the sphere, a costume of lights,, with torch-beams pointing from the breasts of the human outline created, danced, creating a surreal but beautiful series of patterns.  Cecilia freed herself from her cocoon only as her dance finished – haunting and extra-ordinary. 1338 1339 1340 

 LAUREATE O’HARA was next, her name a spoof on that of Gone With The Wind heroine, Scarlett O’Hara. She danced a straight-forward number in and slowly out of an elegant green dress. 1341 1342 1343 1344 1345 1346 1349 1350 1351 1352 


MILLIE DOLLAR  was the last dancer in what Rosie called the mathematically incorrect first of three halves. She was also dressed in green, with lots of fur and feathers, dancing initially to a slow trad-jazz recording before switching unexpectedly to a fast shimmying go-go dance number mid way through. 1353 1354 1355  Millie Dollar

With some LINDEYFUSION 1307  dancers providing unofficial entertainment in their break-time dancing, we were in good spirits for part two of the show. CECILIA ROUGE warmed our hearts further with an Eastern belly-dance, swirling in purple and using a long purple sash throughout. 1357 1358 1359 1360  1361 

ROSIE LUGOSI drew humourous reference to her brave ongoing struggle with throat cancer, making public what many of her friends and supporters have known for a while. There was nothing self-pitying about this – It was a bold laughter driven stance. Rosie  has an incredible voice which seemed unaffected by her illness or the treatment she has undergone. She effortlessly made jokes about her struggle and right to be mean to us because of it – In truth, Rosie is far from mean beyond her stage personification. Her stance and performance will be inspirational to anyone facing a similar medical crisis in future.

BELLA DONNA BERRY is an experienced, accomplished Manchester based burlesque dancer though this was her first dance before her home town audience. She played a pretty in pink housewife struggling to do some cooking to the appropriate tune, ‘If I’d Known You Were Coming I’d Have Baked A Cake’, discarding garments as she needed to cool down or got them covered in the ingredients. She was terrific at giving naughty knowing winks and smiles to the audience. 1362 1363 1364 1365 

VIOLET VA-VOOM played an angel, complete with fluffy white cloud, halo and pink wings, which became a very clever breast-guard once she had slipped out of her top. 1366 1367 1368 1369 1370 1371 1372

MILLIE DOLLAR closed the second of three halves with her brilliant Martini Girl routine. I had seen this a month before when she’d danced at a charity event at FAB Café, (See my review – BURLESQUE 20) and I’d happily watch this routine again, as Millie, holding up a Martini, dances with the poise of a 1940’s movie star, (I’m thinking Lana Turner), fiery, assertive, and absorbing all audience attention, her long evening gown and gloves removed with expert timing. 1373 1374 1375 1376  1378  1379 1380 1381 1382 

The third part of the show was opened, like the first, by CI-CI CYCLONE, no longer a newcomer now,  dancing to a cheesy cover version of Blondie’s Heart Of Glass, in a black & red dress, which soon came off. 1384 1385 1386

The MAID was being playfully innocent, so after many audience requests for her to be spanked, ROSIE LGOSI  obliged us to much applause, and the Maid seemed to enjoy herself a great deal too.

LAUREATE O’HARA 1387 1388 1389 1390 1391 1392 1393  danced to the zany number, Cocktails For Two, shimmying beautifully, spilling her cocktail (glitter) down her cocktail outfit which had to then be removed accordingly.

VIOLET VA-VOOM, dressed in appropriate violet, danced a lovely fan dance to Steeley Span’s festive Gaudette, a routine she last performed at the Green Room’s first Cabaret Formerly Known As Bucket. (Violet dancing at The Voodoo Lounge 1394  1395 1396 1397  )

The closing dance went to BELLA DONNA BERRY, Hair’s Aquarius song was an excuse for a hippy hat & flower-power number, giving way to the Hippy-Hippy Shake as she stripped to her underwear and tremendous applause. 1398 1399 1400 1401 1402 1403 

BELLA BESAME, in a quite lovely black wig, closed the show with a call to thank her performers, Rosie, bar staff, etc.  Te rock & Roll after-show party kicked in and I’d have happily stayed as in many months, but I was invited to a house party with friends I have made at the shows. I’m very grateful to everyone who has spoken to me, read and appreciated my reviews and invited me to activities and adventures beyond being merely the chap watching these shows, taking pictures and jotting down notes.  It all adds to my growing love for burlesque culture, especially in Manchester.  1404 



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