Monday, July 6, 2009

The Burlesque Hour LEGENDS!

Created & Directed by Moira Finucane & Jackie Smith
June 25, 2009. Until August 2

Yes, this show contains nudity, though it’s clearly not just the bare flesh that keeps audiences coming back to Finucane and Smith’s parlour of feminine delights. The Burlesque Hour is a razor sharp variety show with guts and wit, exploring sexuality through the empowering and increasingly popular medium of burlesque.

With tongue firmly in cheek, this team of talented and feisty women have brought together skits both old and new to titillate and entertain. From Maude Davey’s beguiling and clever vagina monologue to Jess Love’s raunchy aerial swing, there’s just the right amount of sugar and spice.

Fabulous guest artist Ursula Martinez is alternately a beer swilling bogan in a flaming bikini, a skilled magician who finds her disappearing hanky in all kinds of unmentionable places and a wonderfully witty chanteuse with very well practiced fingers.

Harriet Ritchie and Holly Durant bring some bump and grind to the mix, becoming busty babes in a bouncy satire of R&B music video clips.

In contrast, Yumi Umiumare is deadly serious in her riveting solo Mouth Piece. Dressed in a business suit, she adjusts her appearance, gradually becoming more forceful and frenzied until almost her entire hand is down her throat. As she calmly wipes away the vomit, we are reminded why body image is such an important issue. Later, with fans swirling about her like swords and eyes flashing, she strips down from kimono to loincloth, a warrior-like figure with Japanese characters scrawled on her skin.

Yet it’s Moira Finucane who anchors the show, performing a range of stunning, sexy and terrifying routines. She is a captivating presence, whether as a shuddering, orgasmic waitress, a deathly wraith beneath a black veil or the outrageous and hilarious milk-splattering Dairy Queen. It’s very enjoyable, polished theatre that revels in feminist mischief.

First published in The Age newspaper

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