Review – The Burlesque Show, Royal, Northampton, 14th January 2012

Sarah Louise YoungSix months after the Ministry of Burlesque’s first Burlesque Show at the Royal, we welcome another show of variety acts with added titillation. Our compere this time was Sarah Louise Young, one third of the current Fascinating Aida line-up and she was full of cheekiness, flair and humour. She had great interaction with the crowd including three girls she named Sister Sledge in the box, Colin in Row C and the missing Trevor, more of which later. She had some terrific songs included her suggestion for the UK’s next Eurovision song, which was all about miserable children living in poverty, and the chorus went “but we don’t care, do we”. She hit the perfect level of total bad behaviour whilst appearing completely proper.

Elle AmourThe first of our three Burlesque teasers, all of whom appeared last time, was Elle Amour, who went a little crazy for some cream cakes. She wrapped up the evening later on with another routine, although she herself was not very wrapped up by the end of it. A charming young lady.Kittie Klaw The second was Miss Kittie Klaw. Last time she was forced to undress to rid her clothes of a surprisingly large number of spiders lurking therein. This time she was dressed in a sailor’s suit and danced the hornpipe, inter alia. Mia MerodeThe third was Mia Merode, whom we saw last time under a different name (see, I did some research.) I have to commend her for remarkable fan work and ability to rotate tassels in different directions. Mrs Chrisparkle kindly took notes for future reference.

Delores DelightMusical entertainment came from Delores Delight, who I also remember from last time. In the second half she had gave a couple of gutsy performances of show stopping numbers and she really does have a great voice! The other musical performer was Elliot Mason. Elliot MasonHe has extremely funny songs about unlikely subjects such as corporate rebranding and mistaken identity, but unfortunately, he sang almost exactly the same songs in the show six months ago, so we found it more nostalgic than riotous. But he’s great at involving the audience making silly accompaniment noises and he went down very well with the crowd.

Paul ZenonPaul Zenon was back again, a brilliant magician with funny attacking patter. He did some good baffling tricks, which I loved, but then I am a sucker for magic. It was during his act that something rather odd happened – the Northampton audience became a little anarchic. Mr Zenon approached a guy in row B to come up and join him for a trick. “What was his name”, he asked. “Gary”, he replied. Within a few seconds the call of “Gary! Gary!” went around the theatre, to the total astonishment of Paul Zenon. Gary seemed to take it in his stride. “Friends of yours?”, asked PZ. “No”, Gary mildly replied. The vocal Mexican wave of “Gary, Gary” went around again. Slightly nonplussed, PZ continued and got Gary to pick a card from the pack, and show it to the audience. “Ten of Spades” shouted out someone from the back, to the huge guffaw of the crowd and the blinking incomprehension of Mr Zenon. “You’re not meant to do that!” he responded, and I felt he was beginning to get slightly irked. It wasn’t the ten of spades; but I don’t think at that point of the trick Mr Z knew that. In the end it was the ten of hearts and a jolly clever trick. But I think Mr Zenon would be the first to accept that overall it was a score draw between him and the audience.

Audacity ChutzpahOnly two acts were new to me, and they were both fantastic. The first was the brilliantly named Audacity Chutzpah, who appeared in the first half as She-Ra, Princess of Power, where she appeared to grow limbs from under her cloak; and in the second half as a Cos Lettuce eating faun who coquettishly approached members of the audience before flinging limp salad leaves around to the tune of Alexander Rybak’s Fairytale. She’s a perfect clown and made me laugh hysterically.

ElanThe other was Elan, a stalwart of the Crazy Horse in Paris apparently, and another fabulous physical comedian, in the George Carl tradition. He uses the suitcase prop superbly – it really has a life of its own; he takes on completely different appearance with a mask, and goes totally berserk bodypopping. Not a word is spoken; a wonderful act.

There was barely an empty seat in the house – even the upper circle was full, and both boxes. One of the boxes only had two people in it. Trevor couldn’t come, apparently, which was the cause of much sorrow. “We love you Trevor” came a disembodied voice from the balcony, continuing the rather weird anarchy of the evening. At one point, a note fluttered down from the balcony on to the stage. Sarah Louise Young picked it up and read it – it was Trevor’s phone number. Thus, with the use of an iPhone, and much embarrassment to his friends, Trevor, ill at home, was still able to hear the final number before the curtain came down. Isn’t technology wonderful? The Burlesque Show certainly is – a thoroughly entertaining and constantly inventive variety show. Highly recommended.