BURLESQUE REVIEW – THE SLIPPERY BELLE BURLESQUE SHOW  PO NA NA, CHARLES STREET, MANCHESTER. Tuesday 27th March 2007.

 

The third Burlesque I watched  was at a different venue, the Po Na Na, and involved a completely different group of lovely young ladies.

The venue itself was quite tricky to find, even though I know Charles Street itself well. It proved to be a Batcave like room with a modest very well lit staging area, approached by a narrow corridor before the bar. The event was popular, so it was impossible to not be in people’s path as they moved around trying to get to the bar or gain a better view of events. Po Na Na was also stiflingly hot despite the valiant efforts of the air conditioning. No wonder the ladies were so keen to get out of their clothes.

            The bar also committee dthe cardinal sin of having no draught ales, expecting everyone to like bottled lagers and wines instead. If the bar could be criticized however, the dancers could not. Their show was sublime from start to finish. Hostess Bella Besame, with her catch phrase cry of Hurrah! Was lovely to talk to, and keen to make sure everyone was happy and comfortable. Seeing me standing quietly watching more or less on my own, she ushered me to sit with some of the ladies beside the stage before the second half of the show. I did actually meet a few old friends and talk to lots of delightful new people too.

            The show itself was very well staged and choreographed. Busty McLusty and Little Red Fairy opened and closed events with two highly imaginative sets. In the first, Busty was a Alice, or Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland fame, involved in a gun fight against the Queen Of Hearts, played by Red Fairy, though it was more a case of ‘Off with her clothes ‘than Off with her head’.   This was set appropriately to Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit music.

            In their closing set, Little Red Fairy was a lusty pirate, digging for treasure, and having to take her top off to cope with the heat. The treasure in the chest turned out, to no one’s surprise to be Busty. What was surprising was that she was covered from head to foot in gold paint (making many, including Bella, think of the Shirley Eaton death scene in the Bond film Goldfinger.  Busty wore necklaces and garlands of gold coin, and somehow contrived to shove the pirate into the chest she had just vacated.

            Lady J, Gender Illusionist performed a terrific and challenging mime of Victoria Wood’s ‘Let’s Do It’ song in which a woman wants rampant sex while her lover makes excuses to be able to avoid joining in. The song is a challenge as it is extremely funny in itself (as you might expect from Victoria Wood), but Lady J, dressed in an outfit half male-half female (the kid of thing Tommy Cooper wore in the 1970’s, presented both roles with such perfect lip-sink, mime and timing that the song played in accompaniment to him and not as you’d expect, the other way round.

            The Glitter Kittens played out a fantasy in which they were two drunken lads dressing and prancing around in women’s clothes that they have just stumbled upon, which involved them naturally discarding and acquiring new apparel. 
Just to let you know, The Glitter Kittens also did the Mein Heir act from the musical cabaret, and Jessica Sparkle and La Ladybird did the 'men' number from the same show. Another highlight was the 1920’s flapper girl routine set to the Tallulah song from Bugsy Malone.

            From her compeering role, Bella presided wonderfully, and another delight was Bluebell Malone, a girl dressed as a French maid who had the task of clearing up the discarded clothes and props left by performers as they finished their acts – she was on stage virtually through the entire show, working hard, teasing Bella with her duster, and oozing charm throughout, managing to gain as much respect and applause as the dancers.

 While the Tiger lounge Shows feature about five burlesque sets and a live band, Bella’s show was all about the girls throughout. Both shows are well worth seeing. And I’ll happily go along again to either. For more details on Slippery Belle events see  or contact http://www.myspace.com/bellabesame  

 

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