Burlesque loves its staples. Don’t get me wrong, The Hurly Burly Show does some things differently; however, the medium’s fundamentals remain intact: cheesy horns: check, nipple tassels: check, fan dances: check and semi-naked women; that deserves a rather large check thanks to the six Hurley Burley Girlies.
It is not these familiar features that make the show, but instead a combination of fresh takes, some excellently executed humour and some blinding choreography. Our host for the evening is the fabulous Coco Dubois; she manages to whip the audience into a frenzy with her pun dripping patter without even taking her clothes off. Caroline Amer’s American comedy also manages to win over the audience despite the cavernous, if sumptuously decorated, theatre space. This humour often raises its head in the show itself and jokes, through the medium of stripping of course, are made at the expense of everyone from Britney Spears to Freddie Mercury. The choreography also has amazing moments: there are two incredibly professional dance routines that wouldn’t go amiss in a modern dance show if it wasn’t for the removal of clothing.
However, The Hurly Burly Show was not free of blemishes. It is a shame when watching a revue style show to see as many misses as hits. Although some of the choreography was as tight as the Girlies’ corsets, a lot was tired, flabby and desperately needed to be whipped into submission. Many of the sections also demonstrated fatigue in their references; personally, I’ve never found nuns sexy but even I know that trope is as dull as a sermon. Plus, I could not help but feel a pang of disappointment when those same old fans came out. These repetitive moments detract attention from the show’s inventiveness and make the flow choppy. It also does not help that that Hurly Burly’s star and founder, Miss Polly Rae, does not hold the stage nearly as well as Dubois or Amer.
The Hurly Burly Show is not bad burlesque by any means; the Hurly Burly Girlies show plenty of spunk, calibre for performance and pretty much everything else. However, the show’s lack of consistency turns it from brilliant to boring. This one is a little like an unkempt lady-garden, which I can assure you none of these performers had; it could benefit from a little trimming.