|About last night...|
... I think you get the picture. Boylexe, and their sister company Burlexe, had come onto my Twitter radar over the past couple of months, thanks to the creation of LucyLovesCircus. Writing blogs that puts the personal on show, there was shared common ground, and the more I explored both their sites, the more excited I became about their brand of narrative burlesque and the use of the body to lay bare intimate storytelling. And also, at the end of the day, I was looking forward to a night out having a giggle. That, for me, is at the heart of it. Burlesque literally means laughable after all (see The Polelogue) and the joke is always on us. A space to tease (out) our desires, fantasies and foibles, and serve it up with a dash of sauce.
So it was on Friday night I found myself sitting in a booth with half a dozen old friends, enjoying the warm up act (pictured left), waiting for the show to begin. We're birds of a feather, I had joked with Boylexe on Twitter, though not all of us are birds, but I’m sure we can lend them a feather or two. That, there, is the art of tease, came the reply.
There is something about a booth that secretes voyeurism, Rear Window, springs to mind, courtesy of Hitched Cock in this instance. Hidden in the shadows of the Shadow Lounge, we were in pole position for a bit of fun and frivolity, and having heard that the Edinburgh Fringe was one giant dick this year, quite frankly I was on catch up. And that, there is the key to male burlesque at its peak. The (strip)tease and the tongue in cheek.
|Revenge is a dish best served up kohled.|
Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Reuben Kaye (pictured), bringing shades of Berlin Cabaret and Eddie Izzard to bear in inimitable Reubenesque style. The M.C.'s warning to rule-breakers, establishing the boundaries for audience interaction and respect for the artistes, clearly smacked of a challenge to certain inebriated ladies in the audience. These he deftly handled by, for instance, slapping a tax on Miss Behaviour there, draining her rosé, "the coke of the middle classes" - he certainly had the nose for a vintage joke. The timing of his delivery was tight as a butt of (in?) whisky and kept the show ticking along like a Clockwork Orange, and those who couldn't keep up, "google it".
The black feather collar Reuben Kaye wore reminded me of the one I had seen recently on his fellow Australian, Dusty Limits. It also brought back memories of The Alchemic Order’s immersive promenade through the life of Dorian Gray last year. The play is back again at the moment and I highly recommend: click here. They possess the chic-bones, verbal acuity and dry wit I’m Wilde about, and faux crow is so this season.
|River Hawkins, last year, in "The Picture of Dorian Gray"|
The acts themselves were a variety of cabaret, and a frolic of names to bandy around: steamy Randolph Hott, dreamy Esquire de Lune, The gentlemanly Mighty Moustache, iced cool Phil InGud, Viva la Diva Meth, and dear, put-upon Bobby Dee'vah. Together they celebrated manhood in all its incarnations (with the emphasis on carne), from bulging biceps and the muscular masculine to boyish charm and the ultra-outré-feminine. There were tricks and turns, and monologues, some of which could have benefited from a little further stripping, enlisting the compere as copy editor, but credit to the performers who pulled them off with the same ease as their clothes.
One of my favourites was The Mighty Moustache, the proper strong-man - you should see what happens when he gets to grips with a frying pan. So it was a real highlight of the evening to bump into him outside later and discover that he lives for the circus and is a pro in chinese pole and flying trapeze. Sadly there was too much wrapping round the scaffolding poles opposite for him to demonstrate the perfect flag (it's all in the grip, again), but my goodness, Boylexe, what a catcher!
The mix of cocktales served up by Boylexe was just the ticket - we laughed, we shared, we connected. Afterwards, as recommended, we went to Balans, where my order of a porn star received a gratifyingly wry smile from the waiter. He must have heard that a thousand times before, but I'm learning it's all in the delivery. The espresso martinis meanwhile propelled us into the early hours, and then we de-camped, as it were, back to my kitchen table. Well, that's what you do at our age. And maybe it is time to grow up. I took issue the other day with being referred to as Madame, when I still feel like a young Mademoiselle. In reality, going on for a decade now as a housewife and mother has turned me from la coquette to la moquette (moi? a doormat? cue violin!), but give me the space, now and again, to don the smokey eyes and sequinned jumper, tousle that hair, and I feel fabulesque again. So, about last night ... guys and dolls, embrace your inner Madame Mojo and let rip, it's all in the best possible taste. And company. Cheers Boylexe!