The rise in popularity of Burlesque at the Edinburgh Fringe means there is sometimes no telling what is tacky and what is classy. A trip to a Burlesque night at a different venue recently was typical of this. Whilst showcasing many acts, there were few quality ones; the audience drifting off and talking rather than watching. The same cannot be said for Aurora Winterborn’s variety night of the best of the Fringe. She does the research so you don’t have to.
The gorgeous Winterbourn herself was present, but compering was the fabulous Gypsy Charms resplendent in a full-length scarlet satin, fish-tail, halter-neck gown; her black hair rolled into a perfect 1930’s chignon, her eyes heavy with the make-up from the same impossibly glamorous era. Charms warmed-up the audience like a professional stand-up, indeed she made us stand up and learn a basic Burlesque move - the boom. It’s harder than it looks you know.
The evening consisted of Winterborn’s cherry-picked acts - Kim Kaos’ boom-laden belly-dancing strip-tease; Tom Balmont introduced us to The Tom Show by forcing his body through a child’s tennis racquet (I think I would hate to be his mother, I just imagine how many racquets he had to be cut out of before he mastered his trick); Peter Antoniou the ‘comedium’ boggled our minds with his scary mind tricks (glad I wasn’t his mum either!); the very dapper Florian Brooks’ slickly vogued with juggling batons; Missa Blue had me foxed, is she a he? Who cares! She’s stunning, sexy and was incredible on crazy heels - pity/envy the audience member pulled up on stage with her; Julie Jones, winner of Prisoners Got Talent, did a velour-based comic turn but was perhaps the weakest performer of the evening; Gypsy’s favourite (a bit of a ‘come to mama’ moment), Jollyboat gave us face-cramps from laughing (the Bible in rap is much funnier than it ever ought to be - ‘boom, shake, shake, shake the womb’). Topping the bill was the mystical and mesmerising Great Aziz, award winning magician and illusionist. I could not take my eyes off him for a moment and it was quite amazing to be sat so close to such baffling tricks.
The lovely Miss Charms finished us off with another round of ‘Booms’ and we were sent away, satisfied and happy. There are only a couple of dates left for this fabulous showcase, one of which promises the tiny-waisted Vendetta Vain. An utterly glamorous treat all round.