Monday, 25 July 2011

Boylesque Vs Burlesque on Brick Lane

By Leo Owen.

"Nigger, fag, God, wet back, Chink..." is what is written on The Luminous Pariah's white under-leggings and a black glittery swastika adorns his bare right nipple. Luther King's "I have a dream speech" is set to music as he provocatively dances with a noose around his neck, staggering backwards in time to gun shot sounds. Haunting and poetic, this artistic performance is the highlight of Seattle's touring troupe’s burlesque/boylesque show.

Equally combining female and male dancers, Electric Burlesque, mixes traditional burlesque with the much less infamous "boylesque". Spanish compere, Jaunita Pantalonis Della Cruz, inventively and playfully introduces each act sporting a horrific blue and pink 80s outfit and wearing fake reading glasses to read off cues from parts of her body, including buttocks: "Deep in the wet jungle a magnificent bird spreads his wings to reveal his plumage..."

An introduction to the tropical rainforest by David Attenborough, signals the arrival of the show's star in the opening act. Pariah enters the stage in a dazzlingly colourful bird costume before whipping off a feathered skirt to reveal skimpy pants. Unfortunately follow-on acts from the heavily tattooed Sassy Delure and Orphelia More are less inspiring mere striptease, despite continued impressive costumes, including the imaginative removal of a paper apron with the pope's face on it.

Returning to a level of quality similar to Pariah in an electric blue outfit, Paris Originale's routine to "Big Spender" memorably investigates "the lustful appetites of humanity's greed" before a disappointing double act and a brief interval. After the break there's a similar pattern with the boys far out-performing the ladies as Pariah returns with "Money makes the world go round", complete with a scarf comprised of bank notes.

Electric Burlesque certainly blurs the gender boundaries and showcases some spectacular costumes and inventive choreography, as well as traditional sultry fan dances and use of brollie props, but sadly really puts the girls to shame.

Electric Burlesque runs until Saturday 30th July (excluding Mondays and Sundays) from 8.30pm at The Brickhouse on Brick Lane.
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