A burlesque is, traditionally, a parody, a taking down or ridiculing of established norms, and, in modern usage, has come to also include cabarets of strip and drag acts as well; but the emphasis of any true burlesque show should always be on being outspoken and challenging commonplace social mores, whether that be sexually, societally or politically.
Absolute Burlesque, however, whose cast is made up from pupils from the Sassy School of Burlesque rather than the traditional circuit of seasoned showgirls and burlesque performers, has totally failed to grasp this concept, and a lot of tonight’s many performers have not as yet been instructed on how to inject their routines with any kind of flair, tease or honest-to-god showmanship.
There is huge scope for excellence here with a myriad of solo performers and group acts taking the stage, but the show’s producers have failed to grasp the nettle. Most of their routines are unambitious and terribly similar, as if choreographed by the same person, and the compère could easily have been introducing the local Flower Show for all the pizzazz he adds to the proceedings.
A substantial chunk of the audience leave during the performance, and, as an extra special treat, the producers have allowed entry to a posse of photographers to the already cramped auditorium. Burly men with cameras continually dart around the space while the girls – not a catchall phrase, there are no boylesque or drag performers here tonight – labour through their routines.
With respect to the burgeoning talent of these beginners, this show has been over-hyped by its producers, and its cast is not yet at the stage to be displaying their skills to a paying audience.