Already advertised as being sold out, the queue outside the Ruby Lounge stretches either side of the entrance of the club, fifty minutes before the doors opens.

Never having been to a Burlesque show before, this is a complete leap into the unknown for me. We are told to expect an “EXTRAVAGANZA”.

Now don’t get me wrong! I have not led a sheltered life, nor am I prudish. Burlesque just seems to have passed me by.

When it is allowed in, the crowd grabs tables and chairs and drags them right to the front of the stage. This is clearly a show they don’t want to miss. The audience is packed in as close to the stage as it can, the majority of which is predominately women, most of whom have dressed for the evening. Style seems to be the order of the night.

Onto the stage comes our host for the evening the wonderfully-named ‘Natalia Kalashnikov’. Quick fire and firing in every direction aptly describes her great delivery. She enters the stage singing her own version of ‘Welcome to the Jungle’.

The applause is slowly built up for our first performer of the evening, ‘Miss Mimi Amore’, who we are informed won best newcomer at the World Burlesque Games.

Mimi’s movement and connection with the audience is an instant hit. It seems the more the audience react the more the performer responds with plenty of titillation and bottom jiggling, and this will be the main theme for the evening.

Natalia once again fires off quick quips as she introduces 'Bettina Spankenhous', who glides on stage with a beautiful gold gown looking rather lavish. She opens the gown to show a toilet roll hanging from her underwear at the rear, and this then develops into a comedic routine as she tries to dismiss the offending roll whilst trying to maintain a level of sophistication.

Next up ‘Ebony Silk', who provides a taste of the Caribbean. This is now is becoming a fast slick show that has brought us a tropical flavour, and culminates with Ebony unfurling the Jamaican flag.

The flow is abruptly halted for a ten minute break. After the break we have our first interaction with the audience. Four women are duly brought on stage to be judged as the best dressed. The crowd are fully involved, and this obviously a popular part of the night’s entertainment.

‘Amber Von Tassel’ keeps the evening going forward, with a performance described to us as homage to camp and gay pride. There is no doubting that Miss Von Tassel knows how to tease and get an audience to interact. She is a little frantic in covering the stage, but gives a performance that has the crowd loving each and every gesture.

Quickly brought onto stage we have a twosome Tiluly, who consist of Lulu Roxx and Tillt Tassel and are a throwback to the cabaret days. Carefully coordinated in a confined stage area, there are maybe times that anyone behind the third row of people will probably be having difficulty seeing some of the cavorting on the stage floor.

Our second audience participation of the evening sees three women and one man showcasing their shimmy moves for all to see. As with the performers, these audience participants have shed their inhabitations and nothing is left to the imagination. It is once again brilliantly held together by the superb Natalia.

It is time for the raffle. Yes, why not? A raffle! We seem to be getting everything, Prizes such as nipple tassels, a set of postcards and signed photos are eagerly bayed for and gratefully accepted.

After a lot of cooing and beckoning to the stage, we have the return of Mimi Amore, and are back to the more traditional style of Burlesque with giant feathers and the teasing and tantalising of the appreciative audience.

Although we have had a lot of laughs throughout the night, I am not quite sure about the introduction onto the bill of the next couple, who are a male and female double act based on ‘Phantom of the Opera’. Welcome. ‘Bettina and Claus’! I am really not sure how to describe this performance. Let’s just say it was bizarre, Claus being a prop, and Bettina running a not so funny routine around it. It is not up my street.

Ebony comes back on stage to return some normality to the proceedings, 1940’s style underwear being the theme.

The night has been fast-flowing, and the last performer is brought onto stage. ‘Betty D'Light’, who wears a red ruby cloak and underwear, is obviously a star performer. She performs in what I understand to be a true Burlesque performance, teasing and cavorting, and even dispersing rose petals from her bra. All of this adds to a performance befitting the closing act.

All in all, it was an entertaining evening. Extravaganza may be a bit of a stretch, but it was definitely a fun-filled innuendo show.

I suppose the last word has to come from the audience, who loved it. They participated throughout on stage and off stage. Cavorting and bottom shaking was not confined to the stage. All of it, however, was done “in the best possible taste.”


Photos: Melanie Smith
www.mudkissphotography.co.uk

















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