On their third return to the Fringe, French dance troupe Le Burlesque Klub brought a certain je ne sais quoi to the festival’s lineup with their unique brand of neo-burlesque. The Parisian beauties took to the stage at Brighton (well Hove, actually) boozer The Brunswick for an evening of raucous and raunchy entertainment.
A must-see for burlesque virgins and aficionados alike.
Professionally trained in contemporary dance, ringleader Valentina del Pearls and her merry band of modern-day pin-ups mix retro aesthetics with lighthearted humour to create Cabaret Burlesque – an adult-only cocktail of theatrics and glamour, with a few parts naughtiness thrown in for good measure.
Le Burlesque Klub’s “Betty Boop burlesque” puts a new spin on the ancient art of striptease, taking inspiration from jazz age flappers and kitsch 50s cheesecake girls. It’s suggestive and it’s sexy (the performers have enough charisma to make sliding off an elbow length glove look alluring).
There’s rock‘n’roll hula hooping, Lolita-esque renditions of My Heart Belongs to Daddy and fan dancing with all the grace of a prima ballerina. But it’s Miss Glitter Painkiller who steals the show with her hilarious stripping sendup, complete with awkward internal monologue. Stuck with her stockings, she’s Kristen Wiig in a corset and she’s brilliant.
Moulin Rouge, it ain’t. But there’s a sanguine charm to Cabaret Burlesque – a hypnotic constellation of glitter, twirling nipple tassels (even the men are wearing them) and requisite feather boas of any showgirl spectacle – that incites a roaring response from the crowd. The dancers’ energy is infectious and they even have audience members dancing on stage by the finale.
If you have the pleasure of watching del Pearls and her artistes, be sure to grab a seat at the front for maximum exposure. For those who missed out this time around, the ravishing performer also teaches private burlesque lessons to anyone wishing to recreate her signature moves. A must-see for burlesque virgins and aficionados alike.