The Raunch

As Underbelly at George Square grows arms and legs, an expansion into the Meadows was inevitable. Still within walking distance of the major players, Underbelly Circus Hub is home to this year’s The Raunch. Produced by Zero Central’s founder and performer Empress Stah, The Raunch previously held court last year at London Wonderground, having been commissioned by Underbelly Productions. Billed as an electric wild west circus cabaret, it veers more into burlesque and music hall, with sketches that range from the daring to the trivial.

Billed as an electric wild west circus cabaret, it veers more into burlesque and music hall, with sketches that range from the daring to the trivial

The show starts with Mr Teds as the host, costumed in a seeming homage to Motorhead frontman Lemmy. He links the acts together and from there on in we get various degrees of skills to amuse and astonish. Tattooed twin beauties My Bad Sister rap, tap dance, knife throw and duel on their ukuleles. German performance model Missa Blue swallows a sword then later eats fire, Fancy Chance apparently hangs herself by a noose while attached by her hair for some nifty aerial gymnastics. Empress Stah performs acrobatics high above the stage on a hexagon, lit from behind with a surprisingly cheeky laser lightshow. Mr Teds then sings Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler, before turning it into a duet with a member of the audience. The spectacle is aided by a full ensemble on hoverboards and in dazzling fluorescent trimmed outfits, like the fabulous Starlight Express revival noone thought would happen.

The star of the show is undoubtedly Jair Ramirez, who faultlessly demonstrates his skill, strength and flexibility on two suspended ropes revolving above the stage. At one point he’s held just by his ankles in horizontal splits, defying the conventional logic of cowboy denim. The Raunch captures a certain star quality; though inconsistent in its skill and focus, the show is nonetheless decently entertaining.

Reviews by John Murray

Assembly Checkpoint

Arlene! The Glitz. The Glamour. The Gossip.

★★★★
theSpace @ Symposium Hall

The Joni Mitchell Story

★★★★
theSpace @ Symposium Hall

The James Taylor Story

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Barry Cryer and Ronnie Golden: Just the Two at Six

★★★★
Greenside @ Infirmary Street

Frigid: A Musical Worth Melting For

★★★★
theSpace @ Symposium Hall

Best of the West End

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Welcome to the The Raunch! A whip-cracking, high-flying, all-twerking, rodeo-rocking night out starring legendary cabaret performer Empress Stah alongside the most wanted of the international cabaret and circus scene, and featuring a toe-tapping, disco hoedown soundtrack. The Raunch also stars Alternative Miss World Fancy Chance, hip hop, rapping-tapping dancing twins My Bad Sister, international burlesque femme fatale Missa Blue, daring circus superstar Jair Ramirez and the indescribably irreverent Mr Teds. Saddle up for the most fun you'll have this summer. 'Utterly unique' (Time Out).