Sunday, 30 December 2012
A film by Canadian director Jonathan Joffe - starring Armitage Shanks, Koko La Douce, Kiki Kaboom and Roxi Dlite
World War II, Johnny Valentine and Katarina Molotov - lovers and partners in the fight against tyranny and fascism - have devised their best secret weapon, the Burlesque Assassins. Beautiful women who entice key officers in the Nazi regime; they seduce with their charm, ready for the kill. But in the midst of the Cold War, the two lovers embark on different journeys, crossing each other's paths at times, rekindling their affair.
Ten years later, 1956, Johnny is still deep into espionage with a special mission: intercept and take possession of a deadly weapon from the enemy. His latest recruit, Bourbon Sue, a wayward rockabilly, joins his team of seductress spies, Koko La Douce and Bombshell Belle. Their assignment: tempt and kill.
Written and directed by Canadian Jonathan Joffe, The Burlesque Assassins is full of humour, wit, and real burlesque. A story of espionage unlike any others, with charismatic characters who will keep you screaming with laughter from beginning to end.
The Burlesque Assassins is a comedy showcasing beautiful burlesque acts performed by real burlesque performers, performers who can laugh at themselves, remaining professional. Such a wonderful treat, and at last demonstrating on the big screen what true burlesque actors truly do; far from your Hollywood made up stories.
The London première of the film took place at the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, in December. A venue renowned for hosting many burlesque events throughout the year, including the Double R Club, run by Rose Thorne and Benjamin Louche.
The première was organised by the Sean Mooney, creator of the production company, Beyond the Cabaret, specialising in cabaret, vaudeville and burlesque.
The première was attended by a vast audience, many of the spectators being connected to the burlesque scene. The room was buzzing with laughter, cheers and total delight.
Greeted by a fabulous compère Ophelia Bitz, with the reputation of being naughty and saucy, we had the pleasure to her singing followed by a series of short films, all about cabaret and burlesque, before the main feature film.
One of the main protagonists, Kiki Kaboom, made an appearance after the film, to the delight of the whole room. One of our most celebrated burlesque performers, Kiki has wowed the audience at many events, including the London Burlesque Festival.
The Burlesque Assassins is a must see...!
A true success and an absolute gem. All in all, a real winner...!
VIEW THE FILM - HERE - http://muvi.es/w4514/162313
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Scandalous! is a musical that captures the world of Ivy, a brothel Madam in the 18th century London, who plots her way out of a financial debt to the Marquis of Gray, her aspiring lover.
Notorious owner of a bordello, Ivy protects the future of her whore house with the help of her courtesans. The arrival of Rose, a virgin whore, provides Ivy with the perfect opportunity to distract the Marquis away from her.
When events turn for the worst, and Ivy is imprisoned, the Marquis seizes the good chance to run the brothel.
Will Ivy return to take back her precious house?
A strong woman, who must be astute to survive, but her loneliness is, at times, a price she pays for settling for money and not love. But what path will she choose, ultimately?
Capturing the harsh world of women in the 18th century London, Scandalous! explores the vulnerability of a woman who is prepared to fight a world where men dominate more than money and politics.
The play is full of comedy, live music and burlesque acts, with a supporting cast including Pete Saunders, talented song writer and singer (formerly of Dexys Midnight Runners) accompanies Ivy at the piano, and delights us with his singing too.
Harper Ray, as the Marquis of Gray, is presently producer/director at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre. His classical acting gives much strength to his role, and great stage presence.
Crinolines, pantaloons and corsets, and the magnificent voice of Ivy Paige, certainly make the show a must-see.
The majestic and gorgeous period dresses worn by Ivy Paige are a vision and plunge you right back in time, as does the colourful array of period costumes that makes this play a visual delight. With the burlesque acts bringing their unique outfits, the wardrobe in general will attract the attention of the audience.
This musical is full of vibrant, professional and confident acting.
Ivy is a natural performer and actress, who has much to offer the West End. I would love to see more of her witty humour in this play, but there is no doubt that her talent is reflected in her powerful stage presence. Ivy Paige is quality in all its splendour, the voice, the acting, the determination, and creativity she offers, show a great future for this play.
The audience is never forgotten, as the courtesans welcome you as clients of Ivy's 'disreputable establishment', handing 'guineas' to spend during the show. The interaction with the audience, throughout the play, reflects the confidence of the actors.
Ivy is here to stay, and with the support of great names like Pete Saunders and Harper Ray, our most illustrious and celebrated London theatre scene, one of the most envied around the world, has found a new talent.
Do not miss the great opportunity to see this fabulous play that, so far, only appears on the 30th December 2012 and the 26th January 2013, with more dates to come.
Check the various dates on: www.ivypaige.co.uk and support one of our most talented performers, in theatre, cabaret, burlesque and more, much more...!
Photography by: James Drury
Leicester Square Theatre
Marquis of Gray and courtesans
Ivy and Marquis of Gray
Ivy Paige and her courtesans
Saturday, 8 December 2012
Chaz Royal: Celebrating his 10 Year Anniversary in Burlesque - Friday 23rd November 2012 at Bush Hall, London
What do Chaz Royal's burlesque shows, all have in common? A majestic wide variety of bawdy humour, elegance, glamour, seduction and eccentricity, in all shapes, sizes and styles.
A pleasure for all to enjoy, and tonight was no exception. From glamour to bizarre, and purely entertaining, all acts were a delight of the highest standard. And this is why we love burlesque, the Chaz way...!
Celebrating 10 years in burlesque, Chaz chose 'Bush Hall' for this memorable anniversary. A favourite venue, with a music hall feel, grand architecture, but friendly, and not one ounce of pompousness. While some venues have a greater feel of prestige, Bush Hall has been a much sought-after venue, as it marries glamour and popularity, perfectly.
The hosts, Chaz Royal and Betty D'Light, welcomed the guests personally, at the door, adding a touch of specialness by keeping close to the audience. When shows become a national success, it is easy to detach oneself from the public, and lose track of the important factor: the spectacle goes on stage for the pleasure of the spectators...! So, it's fantastic to see the organisers, promoters be part of us.
Chaz and Betty
Buzzing with excitement, the room was full; a sign of how notorious and popular Chaz's events have become.
Eccentric, talented entertainer, Benjamin Louche, was the compère for the night, bringing his unique sense of humour, dark, satiric and extremely witty. His distinctive stage presence, a performance in itself, sent the audience into frenzy with laughter, cheer and applause throughout the night. A compère unlike the rest...!
This grand evening opened with the winner of the London Burlesque Festival 2012, Anna the Hulagan. Even more glamourous than during her performance in May, Anna brought to the stage a mixture of skill, seduction, and magnificent eye catching hula hoop fire act, full of energy. Increasing the pace, as the rhythm grew faster and faster, Anna the Hulagan performed a beautiful striptease, receiving much acclamation from the spectators.
A brilliant act not to miss...!
Anna the Hulagan
But Chaz's events would not be complete without a touch of boylesque, and tonight he delighted us with four male performers.
The first this evening, Kiki Lovechild, entered the stage with an amazing hand shadow performance, leading to his double act with his furry ostrich. With the wonderful 'Close to you' by The Carpenters playing, Kiki and his ostrich had successive routines culminating to his strip, revealing his whizzing pasties - a great act and one that provoked great enthusiastic applause.
Laughter followed by glamour with a capital G, Banbury Cross, in her Marilyn Monroe style, brought the Golden Age of Hollywood to this event. Owning the stage with confidence, class and a beautiful sensual choreography, Banbury sent hearts thumping. She wowed the room with her classical burlesque tease, full of charisma, sensuality and the skills of true professional performer. A very rowdy audience gave a majestic ovation when she showered herself with champagne wearing nothing by pasties and a thong... A very erotic tableau...!
The unexpected always arrives like a big wave or with a big 'bang' and Dare's arrival on stage certainly got the attention of the whole room. A fantastic boost of originality and great entertainment, Dare's aerobics number had all of us clapping and waving. With all eyes on him, he performed a parody of an aerobic instructor, doing the splits, the wheel and dancing with such energy! His routine and choreography showed much agility, individuality and fun. Finishing with his glittery body naked, except for some luminous green trunks, Dare got us all fully energised, ready for more... But we had an interval instead...!
We all welcomed the two intervals Chaz included tonight, allowing the audience to savour the show by extending the pleasure, taking time to wander around, talking to other spectators, and sharing the delight of the night.
Back in front of the stage, we welcomed the magnificent Lada Redstar in all her splendour, wearing a sparkling black and white dress. She took to the stage with confidence, in a truly theatrical manner, a delectation for the eyes...! Her acts took us from Jessica Rabbit's seductive look, to Bettie Page's erotic moves. Lada Redstar, is an artiste and star in every way.
Uniqueness is not for the weak ones. It takes someone very special to carry out an act with so much singularity, and Mr Pustra has the charisma, the personality and the look for this special act. In his Pierrot outfit, Mr Pustra reminds me of the eccentric Serge Gainsbourg, smoking while singing, poetic yet a rebel. Mr Pustra is the Pierrot of the Commedia dell'Arte, full of visual art, and poesy with his personal touch of eccentricity, rebellion and posture. He kept the full attention of the crowd, taken by his singing, right to the finale's accolade...! Wow...!
From one iconic figure to another, Eliza Delite is a Virgin wearing the traditional blue robe; a beautiful outfit that comes off to reveal a fiery golden and red corset. In her crown and 'Heart of Jesus' effigy on her chest, Eliza Delite's dance in her golden wings mesmerises the audience. A magnificent tableau rich in colours, movement and sensuality; a Saint who strips down to show the erotic side of purity...! A marvelous performance...!
Keeping with the biblical theme of women, Veronique Divine is the embodiment of the Jezebel or the temptress dancer Salome, whose dance captivated Herod. In her red outfit, flying us to Arabian nights, Veronique Divine raises the heat in the room, seducing the audience with her dance, her tease and finally a most erotic strip...! Hot, hot, hot...!
Just as we thought the stage couldn't get any hotter, in comes Big Chief Random Chaos...! His signature act, the one that won him first place at the Burlesque Games in May at Madame Jojo's, was still a great piece of entertainment. One that filled the room with laughter, screams, disbelief and a crowd clapping hilariously...! If anyone wants to see a burlesque variety act with much ingenuity, this is one! His bottom spanked, on fire, and sado masochism thrown into the act, he set his mohican on fire; nobody expected such madness... Big Chief delivered, once again, an entertaining act with brilliance... Chaos by name, great entertainer by nature...!
BigChief Random Chaos
Closing the first evening of this celebratory weekend, Lada Redstar returned on stage with another fabulous costume; colourful, utterly prestigious green costume, her bug act won another praise from tonight's crowd.
All in all, a success for everyone. An elated and happy audience, welcomed back the magnificent acts that performed brilliantly tonight. With so many shows to his name, Chaz delivers burlesque entertainment in all its grandeur. Bravo!
Hurrah to another 10 years of Chaz Royal's burlesque shows...!
Photographer: James Drury
Friday, 9 November 2012
Inspired by the 18th century costumes and lifestyle, Ivy Paige's latest production, Scandalous! House of 'Whorecraft' appears in the West End, London, since October (check the different dates). Ivy's fascination with stories of the time and brothel Madams, their spirit, entrepreneurial character and their drive for success, despite their prophesied pitiful destiny, has been the inspiration for this dramatisation.
Set in London in the mid 18th century, the story transports you into a voyage with Ivy Paige who is to become London's most notorious brothel Madam. Accompanied by her courtesans, Ivy will enthrall you right from the beginning...!
A very talented performer, with a business spirit of her own, Ivy Paige promises to take you on a journey filled with intrigue, thrill and fabulous acting; undoubtedly, I expect the best of theatre play, and performance. She has collaborated with two grand names in music and theatre productions, Harper Ray (artistic director for the West End Cabaret Club 'Too Too Much' - formerly the Raymond Revue Bar, and presently producer/director at the Shakespeare Globe theatre), and Peter Saunders (formerly a member of Dexys Midnight Runners) who brings his signature tunes (a mixture of old and new songs), making a most exciting combination, not just in terms of music and cabaret but in ideas and creativity.
Scandalous! is a play not to miss this season, as it vows to bring burlesque, cabaret, music and a fabulous story line with talented actors, all in one night...!
Visit Ivy Paige at: www.ivypaige.co.uk
for information on the show and dates - Leicester Square Theatre, London
Tuesday, 6 November 2012
La Bellevilloise hosted the 4th Paris Burlesque Festival in October 2012. Situated in the 20th arrondissement, la Bellevilloise, with its amazing history, prides itself in being a popular cultural and events venue, with a welcoming restaurant, main hall, loft and a cellar, all able to accommodate various events.
Spread over four days, the Festival's theme was 'La Fiesta de la Muerte', inspired by the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead, which reveres the death of our loved ones with various offerings and rituals.
The festival was an ensemble of burlesque shows, a replica of a Mexican village with its souvenir shop, tattoo parlour, spirit exorcist and a peep show, which gave a taster of burlesque tease and strip.
Not having attended this festival previously, I was eager to explore the whole venue.
Organised by Sebastien le Bison and Juliette Dragon, the Paris Burlesque Festival indulged us with more than burlesque shows. Making the most of the venue, each floor offered a different type of entertainment. The village and main shows shared the Fiesta de la Muerte theme, while the cellar, with its jazz band entertaining the crowd who danced their way through the night until 6 in the morning, had much less connection with the rest of the festival.
The atmosphere in the village was vivacious once the first show finished, and the guests found their way to the loft. An exuberant crowd enjoyed all the entertainment provided, from the 'lucha libre' bar, to the spiritual exorcist working her magic on the lost souls and the mariachi band captivating the public, bringing an authentic flavour to the night.
A wrestling ring became the centre of attention with grand performance from an all female cast, entangling themselves in a fight, to the pleasing eyes of the public.
On the terrace, which provided shelter from the light rain, we spoke to a few young enthusiasts of neo-burlesque who confessed that although they couldn't afford the main show, they were very happy to be part of the village and the jazz band soiree.
According to them, Paris still doesn't offer a plethora of burlesque entertainment like you find in London, and they wished they could get a wider range of shows throughout the year.
The festival seemed to have attracted an extensive Parisian crowd, the vast majority in casual wear; a few made the effort to dress up more 'burlesque'. For those unprepared, who wanted to blend in and be part of the 'Fiesta de la Muerte' affair, a team of make up artists was at hand at the entrance of the village to transform any participant into a 'Fiesta de la Muerte' worthy member, with wonderfully creative face painting.
After what seemed like a long wait, the main hall doors opened to a fervent crowd, all impatient to be captured by these performances. The forum lacked some atmosphere, with a basic arrangement of chairs in rows. A more cabaret or theatre ambiance would have immersed the spectators into the burlesque mood further.
The hosts, Sebastien and Juliette, welcomed the spectators introducing this year's theme. Dressed for the occasion, Juliette continued on her own as the compère for the night, ensuring the audience understood the etiquette for the show.
Bringing us an all international cast, the Paris Festival raised its curtains with a poetic number by a French couple, 'Les Amants d'Outre Tombe' (Lovers beyond the grave), setting the scene for the night, the tragedies of love and death, with its inevitable sad denouement...!
The only boylesque performance tonight came from Charly Voodoo, from France, acting the tragic destiny of a bullfighter caught by death; a drama performed to the eternal Spanish composition of 'Aranjuez' by Joaquin Rodrigo, one of my all time favourite guitar pieces. Fighting his way through the encounter with great stage presence, Charly Voodoo had the audience enthralled, as all cheered enthusiastically. A fatal end for the bullfighter who finished in a grand dramatic finale, blood everywhere, stripping to his death...!
After this rather bloody scene, a fantastic, creative performance from Calamity Gin, all the way from the UK, with her wonderful audience interaction, delivered a story of death, frolicking with a skull, with abundant wit and humour. A well deserved ovation from the spectators who relinquished in her finale, teasing and stripping to reveal spider nipple tassels - just for the occasion!
From Sweden, crept in Ivoncita, all in black, a happy widow who revels in teasing a skull too, maybe a past lover. Paroding the joyful and satiric side of death, she showers herself in her lover's ashes...! A vengeful act performed with satire...!
Another favourite artiste amongst the audience was Tronicat la Miez, all the way from Germany, with her beasty performance, metamorphosing along the way into a tentacle beast. Her fantastic costume and various changes were absolutely first class, showing imagination, and great story telling. An absolute delight to watch...!
Just as you got over one resplendent act, appears La Viola Vixen, Australian performer, wowing the crowd with her parody of Cruela D'Vil in her black and white wardrobe, producing fluffy small puppies from every place on her body. A cruelly glamourous performance, with dark humour, captivated the spectators with grace, wit and satire.
From glamour, to mysterious gothic, Xarah von den Vielenregen, from Germany, eerily captivated the audience with a spectacular headdress, and grand costume, teasing and stripping to a dark finish...!
A troupe of performers, from the four corners of the globe, delighted the audience, who gave a grand ovation...!
Although the venue didn't reflect the glamour of burlesque and cabaret in its grandeur, the cultural history of the Bellevilloise attracted an audience who was receptive to this new type of entertainment. A very different affair from other burlesque festivals, as this had various focuses: a night club in the cellar, a village that held a party with a theme and a burlesque show for the entertainment of the crowd.
A burlesque festival with a difference, giving back to the more popular culture what Paris gave to its people back in the 17th and 18th century: a mockery and parody of life with all its intricate sides. After all, burlesque was a cultural drama performed to produce laughter by caricaturing a serious topic. Something that many performers tonight successfully delivered with glamour, wit and beauty.
Hopefully, Paris will continue to bring the cabaret that is 'Burlesque' to a wider audience, taking a rightful place in the European festivals events.
PHOTOS BY JAMES DRURY
Sebastien le Bison and Juliette Dragon
Les Amants d'Outre Tombe
Tronicat la Miez
La Viola Vixen
Xarah von den Vielenregen