Another fabulous event performed by Bella Besame’s Burlesque team. Compeered by the incomparable Lady J, who opened the show by miming to a Liza Minelli show tune. He presented many jokes about drive by shootings making Manchester scallies ideal competitors for Olympic and Commonwealth Games shooting teams, and he made several references to the invasion of the Scots for a recent football match that left the streets of Manchester in something of a mess.


Violet VA Voom: was the opening act, and a relatively new performer who will clearly go far. She performed a gentle strip, starting out as a secretarial lady in glasses, bearing a summer brolly, and getting ready to relax and eat chocolate éclairs. The comparison between naughty but nice cakes, and the nice, but naughty routine was obvious. She returned in part two in a darker dress, and using a purple feather boa.


As ever, there was a saucy French Maid on stage with the role of helping clear away discarded clothes and props. She was played by Poppy M Cherry, herself a dancer in other shows. She was cheeky enough to snatch the last éclair before host lady J could have it himself – quite right too – LOL!


EVE D’EMERALDE did a routine involving an elegant black dress, long gloves and some interaction with the audience front row.


RYVITA VON CHEESE (great name) came on in a cute sailor suit, and in a boat made of some kind of canvas, discarding the clothes before sailing off again.


We were now entertained by a comedian, GUY BLOKE, who tried to get two members of the audience to initiate Mexican waves that would cross through the audience, but both people picked to initiate the phenomena failed to do anything – Guy laughed off the situation well, and presented a very funny acoustic guitar song about the perils of getting into S & M.


AUTUMN GLORY presented a perfectly choreographed and very teasing strip to a pounding rock score, declining coyly to show off her tassels. She returned later to present an art class, painting herself rather than any canvas and allowing some members of the audience to apply the brush to her too.


Post interval, we were invited to play a unique game of bingo. Free tickets were distributed, but as the game began it was clear that the numbers were actually written into the garments and on the body of a very zany stripper, an unrecognizable Ryvita Von Cheese. The game ran on until she had discarded all that she could, when a full house was declared. The lady who won got an evening meal consisting of a bag of crisps and a bottle of wine.  I somehow managed to have none of the called numbers at all on my ticket.  Great fun.


Burlesque does have male dancers, sometimes referred to as Boylesque performers – BERRY LEE LEWIS now presented such a routine, as a geography teacher unable to keep his clothes on in class.


Nottingham’s EMARALDE ACE opened part two with a circus strong girl routine, struggling to lift two obviously plastic dumb-bells (the Maid had made a similar struggle of setting out the props), but somehow, Emeralde got stronger the more clothing she discarded. The final gag was that she found her own bra even heavier than the dumb-bells.   Emeralde closed the main show with a very lovely ballet performance, with blue fans, pink corsetry and white tights. 


There were some closing announcements from Bella Besame, and a fantastic closing surprise act.  She told us that Lady J would soon be leaving Manchester for London, and that her new compere was at present a closely guarded secret.  However, Jay’s services to Slippery Belle command tremendous respect, so as a surprise, Bella arranged a special extra performance, just for him, which meant Lady J taking a seat the front of the audience.  Bella now introduced THE MAN IN THE MASK.  It took a moment to realize that he was not on the stage but high above it, abseiling slowly down from the lighting rigs, in SAS  - Ninja black, and wearing a gas mask, with lights on. He hit the stage safely, and performed a partial strip, before throwing a grenade that cued a loud bang and set a shower of confetti over the entire audience.  Lady J seemed genuinely lost for words.  Bella clearly knows how to say goodbye and how to throw a party.


The party moved to dance and drink mode, though I sadly have to leave quite soon into what looked like a party that would go on much longer. I’ll certainly be back as soon as possible.


Arthur Chappell