Arthur Chappell

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MY PERSONAL BURLESQUE SHOW REVIEW Ė CANDY SHACK XMAS SHOW Ė OLIVERíS BAR Ė ASHTON UNDER LYNE. Ė SATURDAY DECEMBER 5TH 2009

In a change from the monthly Slippery Belle burlesques I attend, I went to Oliverís Bar to see a relatively new group of performers, Candy Shack, in Ashton.

Chocolate coins and candy-canes were given out as the audience arrived. I got a seat close to the stage, and chatted with friends up to show-time. Many newer friends were surprised to see me clean-shaven as Iíd had a massive beard until that morning.

JOAN SWIFT, Oliverís terrific resident DJ, played some great music, and as the cabaret began, the compeer, JASMIN WILKINSON took to the stage, debuting and immediately proving to be exceptional in the role. Smiling, happy, confident, suitably beastly to the maids, and with a great ability to fire up audience enthusiasm, Jasmin was right up there with the other great burlesque compeers Iíve seen, such as Lady J, Crimson Skye, Rosie Lugosi & Desmond OíConnor.

Unusually, there were three maids, rather than just one for assisting in stage tidying, and prop-management. MISS LITTLE JEM, SAMANTHA BALL & KIM HAMMOND. A novel touch was a competition in which three girls from the audience were invited to take over the maidís role, with the girl gaining the most audience applause being invited to maid officially as part of the team at the February 13th Bloody Valentine show, (Candy Shackís next scheduled Oliverís Bar event, in 2010).

The first dance was provided by LUCY LIPPSTICK, as a very sexy Santa, quickly removing her red jacket and trousers, with her beard being lowered over her cleavage in a very cheeky fashion.

LEXI SEXX took a wash with a difference, taking off her dark dress with white spots to reveal fabulous white corsetry and soaping herself all over from a plastic basin, using the soap suds to cover her breasts, smiling and grinning naughtily to the audience throughout. A tremendous Candy Shack debut.

The maids worked as a team, clearing the stage of the water quickly and preparing for GLORIAN GRAY, who performed a spoof routine based on old washing powder TV advertising, in a red dress, and white pinnie, and long stripy socks, all of which she messed up and had to take off. She was covered in glitter by the time she finished, going to throw the washing up bowl water at the audience, but proving it was filled with bang paper and glitter instead of water.

LETHAL GEM, a favourite Slippery Belle performer, began her routine dressed in dark green, dancing to Tchaikovskyís Sugar Plum Fairy, moving to a faster tempo as she transferred from fairy to Santa suit, luxuriating in her partial nudity and clearly enjoying herself a great deal. Her delight proved very infectious on the audience too.

SUZIE SEQUIN performed a variation on the theme of stripping away her clothes to redress as a sexy Santa, with a mini-dress, stripy socks and red gloves, proving once again that there is as much beauty in dressing as undressing for the ladies of burlesque.

LEXI SEXX opened the second part of the show by practicing her dominatrix skills on a big soft teddy bear. Lexi wore a black and red flower print dress over shiny black corsetry, which was soon on full display as the bear was tied up, bondage fashion. There was a hint of the greatness of Bettie Page in the twinkle in her eye and sense of mischief behind her smiles.

LUCY LIPPSTICKís second dance saw her perform as a teacher with a clipboard, stern expression and a tendency to remove her clothes and dance. Why were my teachers never so exciting and daring? Lol!

GLORIAN GRAY returned as a nun getting into bad habits, rejecting Bible purity for lust and debauchery. Halleluiah!

JASMIN WILKINSON obliged on TIM HARRISON to join in with the maiding and made him sing Jingle Bells too. Funny, cruel, and brave of him to play along to the hilt.

The penultimate performance was from LETHAL GEM, with a traditional burlesque balloon dance, boldly allowing the audience to use pins to burst the balloons for her.

SUSIE SEQUIN ended the main entertainment with another traditional routine, a stunning fan dance, with red fans blending perfectly with the Oliverís bar dťcor and breath-taking skill.

The dancers were all called back to the stage by Jasmin, and Joan for a round of applause and a lovely surprise, a birthday cake for Suzie Sequin, presented by a near naked TIM HARRISON of the Oliverís Bar staff.A chap called JOE BARTON danced with him.

The venue, which just needs a few cask ales and real ales among its bottled produce, had come within a hairís breath of closing, and this had been expected to be the closing night, but Oliverís was saved from closure and judging from the happy atmosphere from staff, audience and performers alike, I hope they continue for many years to come.

A huge thanks to my many friends at the show, and the staff at Oliverís for a fantastic night. Thanks also to the eventís official professional photographer Ian Wilson for advice on my own amateur photos.

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