Two very different performers have arrived at the Fringe to find that a scheduling conflict means they’re sharing the same one hour performance slot. Wannabe poet and comedian Rachel Slater is chronically unpopular and knows it; she has no friends and even her teachers at school avoided her. Minnie Melons is a pin-up bombshell who’s sexy and she definitely knows it; she exudes the confidence of a glamour kitten ready to take the burlesque world by storm. The clash of personalities is inevitable and quickly established with petty digs, sabotaging of props and barefaced contempt descending into one-upmanship and, eventually, understanding and inclusion.
It could be argued that both performers in Double Booked are displaying the true art of burlesque
Both ladies are naturally funny and have crafted perfect personas for the show. Slater’s lonely poet has the intentional air of a feminist stereotype but clearly just wants to find her place in the world of performance and Melons’ is like a tiny Jessica Rabbit; all dirty looks and faux empowerment dressed in the skimpiest of sparkly costumes.
The French Quarter at the Voodoo Rooms isn’t ideal for the art of burlesque with its tiny stage and minimal lighting and Ms Melons perfectly mugs her way through her, very beautiful, routines whilst crashing into chairs and trying not to make eye contact with the scandalized Slater who spends the show reading out her abysmal poetry, juggling carrier bags and hoovering up the drifts of glitter left onstage after each burlesque invasion.
Burlesque is often claimed to be empowering for women and it could be argued that both performers in Double Booked are displaying the true art of burlesque, Slater is clearly satirizing the stereotype of the self-indulgent comedian and Melons is poking fun at the conventions of neo-burlesque and both ladies prove that there is so much more to them than cardigans vs nipple tassels.
There’s some great one-liners and well delivered asides, and although it’s clear that the show is still settling into its run, if you’re planning on an night of cabaret and comedy, Double Booked: Slater vs Melons is a great way to start your evening.