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Review of The Burlesque Show at Royal & Derngate, Northampton

My first trip to Royal & Derngate of 2015 provided myself with an interesting first of its own, my first burlesque show, suitably titled The Burlesque Show. Now I knew quite well what burlesque entailed and wondered what the experience of going to such a show would be (erotic, arousing, or uncomfortable?). However I was greatly advised on Twitter (@chrispoppe and @mudbeast76) that it would be a well worth experience. Turned out that it was really rather entertaining and great fun all round.

The sensible plan of this review would be to cover the burlesque first I suppose, although for me it was a great deal more than that (and t'other was indeed the best part). There were three main burlesque artists performing on the evening; Immodesty Bliaze, Alexandra Hofgartner and Miss Betty Blue-Eyes. Immodesty Bliaze we were informed was one the the greatest of the art and without doubt the show(wo)manship was exemplary, however I suspect personal tastes are quite prevalent with this kind of thing. So for me, Alexandra and Miss Blue-Eyes were much more entertaining, fun and indeed alluring in their performances. Between the three, Immodesty was the more standard burlesque as I would understand it, the wafting of feathers, the slow striptease etc. While the other two bought a more interesting spin on the act, with Miss Blue-Eyes adopting first a clever rewind act and later a hugely entertaining and funny turn based around Liberace (who would have thought that could work!?!). Alexandra opened the show with what wasn't strictly a burlesque act but one involving a quite amazing aerial act hanging from silks. A superb visual spectacle and a great opening to the show. She later returned with a more burlesque act with other performer on the night Rod Laver (more later).

Its safe to say the burlesque acts were highly entertaining, however the more traditional variety acts were even better. First up was musical (maestro?!?) Elliot Mason who with guitar, sang a collection of very bizarre songs. For me, as he was very much on my wavelength, very funny and very entertaining ones. If you can somehow manage to cope with a line in a song of "punch a baby in the neck" or a song about the worry of a particularly round pickled egg, you might need restraining. I coped and laughed, hopefully they will soon take me away.

Mr Rod Laver was next up and he is described as an oral manipulator (make your own jokes up), and he has a quite unique skill with ping pong balls and an act which is surely doomed if Ebola becomes prevalent. It is generally a sort of one act wonder, but it is worked very well and was all the better in the second half when he was joined by the delightful Alexandra. They created a strange sort of burlesque, ping pong swallowing act. Which gave you probably one of the few opportunities for seeing man and woman exchanging bodily fluid on the Royal stage.

Magician Pete Firman provided the top of the bill act with his highly entertaining and magical style. Having seen him not only on TV in the past, but for a whole two hours last year at the Royal, I knew what to expect and he didn't disappoint, although quite amusingly he didn't do a great deal of magic. Despite that he was once again superb and was effortless in dealing with his two unfortunate selections from the audience. Both, lets say, not the keenest individuals to be involved, but he was nothing short of the professional he is in handling them with ease. I hope to see him again as soon as possible.

So that was the acts of the night, but a variety show would not be a complete evening without a host, and The Burlesque Show had a mighty fine one in the form of Miss (she is a Miss. Everybody AWWW!) Peggy Sued! She was genuinely a huge surprise, and as the evening went on, even more so as we were privileged to see a variety of her talents. Both hugely funny, skilled and rather daring with two "willing" volunteers from the audience. She was without doubt the perfect host for such an evening. Also special congratulations to Abigail Collins.

Its safe to say that The Burlesque Show was a delight from start to finish and without any shadow of a doubt comes highly recommended. Old variety shows are not dead, they live and breath and come in the name of The Burlesque Show. Just go, simples.

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Performance reviewed: Friday 16th January, 2015 at the Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton.


The Burlesque Show runs at the Royal & Derngate (Royal) until Saturday 17th January, 2015.

For further details visit the Royal & Derngate website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

A small selection of footage from three of the stars of the show featuring different acts from those performed in this show (no spoilers here!).

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