The Burlesque Hour – She’s Back
The Street Theatre
11 February – 20 February
Review by Shanna Provost
Opening night of The Street’s revisit to Moira Finucane’s Burlesque Hour split the audience.
Finucane makes no apology for the content of her show-in fact she is known to delight in provoking reaction. And Opening Night was no exception, with a handful of guests walking out at interval; others who stayed until the end but grumbled and others who thought it was the best thing they’d ever seen.
The Burlesque Hour is billed as a worldwide cult sensation.
Traditionally Burlesque was known for its sleaze, and as the bottom rung of showbiz. It is designed to stretch the envelope of propriety.
The first time I saw the show I was at once bemused, fascinated and disgusted, but could appreciate the artistry and the athleticism of many of the acts by performance artists Moira Finucane, Yumi Umiumare, Azaria Universe and Maude Davey. It wasn’t the nudity that bothered me-in fact I admired the women’s ease and comfort with their bodies. I was actually delighted by the opportunity the acts provided for me to check out any underlying sexuality issues and judgements around sleaze.
This year’s show however was disappointing for me. The shock value of the original acts that were included lost a bit of their lustre second time round (although the Hebi Omna strip remains my favourite). Some of the new acts didn’t quite reach the previous standard (Hello Kitty didn’t seem to hit the mark), however Jess Love’s opening hula hoop act and her drunken ‘Swinger!’ act showed skill and were entertaining.
The second act was faster-paced and more entertaining overall, which makes me wonder whether it would be better to drop it back to its original one-hour format without an interval.
The inimitable Miss Toni Lamond’s guest appearances throughout (accompanied on piano by talented Peter J Casey) almost gave the show a ‘stamp of approval’ and delighted those who remembered the Burlesque of old.
The younger audience didn’t seemed phased-the strongest reactions came from members of the audience whose take on burlesque was that the acts should be skillful, exciting, creative and have a touch of class and beauty about them. Finucane may vehemently disagree.
So. an extreme reaction either way is better than feeling ambivalent, and no matter what the points of view and how you feel when you leave the show, it’s one of those events that one must see for themselves to be able to create their own opinion.
FINUCANE & SMITH’S
THE BURLESQUE HOUR. SHE’S BACK!
VENUE The Street Theatre, Childers St Canberra City West
DATES Now till 20 February.
SHOWS Tues 16 – Thurs 18 @ 8pm
Fri 19 & Sat 20 Feb @ 7pm & 9.30pm
TICKETS Standard: $37 Concession $33 Group +6 $30
Catwalk Tix: Only $10 more!
BOOKINGS 6247 1223 or www.thestreet.org.au