What: Miss Everheart Presents: Early Burly
When: 27 February
Where: The Butterfly Club
Performed by: Ainslee Adams, Anya Anastasia, Adelaide Everheart, Caterina Vitt
|Image courtesy of Jackson Auditore
Burlesque is a word that has evolved in meaning and intention over the centuries. Originally a term used to designate literature, drama, or music created for the purpose of causing laughter through caricature, in modern times the most common understanding is that of variety shows involving strip tease. Yes, we can blame the Americans for that.
In modern times, even the idea of it being for laughter is not part of the common parlance – with most lay people, when they talk of burlesque, focussing on sexualised performance a la men’s clubs, The Pussycat Dolls, and pretty much any modern female pop music video. Again, let’s blame the Americans...
Early Burly is a burlesque show which covers all the definitions you might have come across for that genre. Our energetic, and slightly awkward, mistress of ceremonies – Miss Everheart herself – kicks of the show with a sexy rendition of ‘Come Into The Jungle’ before assuming her MC duties. Everheart has a musical theatre background and her voice is strong and seductive.
As she comes on stage, Everheart is dressed in an elegant yet masculine waistcoated ensemble which is a sexy foil to her hourglass figure, pincurled hair and sky high stilletoes. Everheart takes the time to explain the roles and expectations of the audience and issue a warning that if you don’t look like you are having a good time you may just become the victim of some audience participation.
Everheart’s strength as an MC is her persona as a nervous ingénue and her singing voice which is stunning. She gets away with telling really bad ‘dad’ jokes whilst performing her duties as the ‘stage kitty’ and collecting all the costume pieces after each act.
The first act introduced is Caterina Vitt. Vitt is an amazing dancer and demonstrates a flexibility that excites men no matter what their age. Vitt’s act is probably the most modern interpretation of burlesque – it is sexy and grinding and every move is designed to draw your eyes to her lady parts.
Adams comes on next. Adams epitomises the legend of burlesque, Gypsy Rose Lee. We have all seen the musical or watched the film about Gypsy’s story. Adams exemplifies that sexy, teasing grace and elegance that Gypsy was known for. Her first costume is a rich, green velvet, with a tulle mermaid base, and a long zip from the top of her left thigh to the top. On her exposed thigh there is a magnificent tattoo of a woman, as as she continues to disrobe, we discover more and more jaw dropping gorgeous skin art.
The final performer, Anya Anastasia, wowed us all with her entrance in a magnificent Marie Antoinette ensemble, complete with wig, jewels and gloves. Anastasia surprises us all by sitting at the piano, but what comes next is just glorious.
Anastasia embodies the original meaning of burlesque. She sings hilarious and bawdy and clever songs, teasing our minds rather than our libidos – although she does do a little bit of that at one point! Anastasia’s first song is about her character, and she discusses the benefits of removing one’s head. My favourite line was about having one’s head chopped off is a great way to lose a couple of kilos.
For her second number ‘I don’t do Burlesque’ Anastasia plays with us unmercifully as she finds ways to remove items whilst constantly telling us that she won’t. Apparently it is hard to play the piano so the gloves have to come off, and my, isn’t it hot in here now?
There was a short interval so that everyone could refresh their drinks and costume changes took place. Even Everheart surprised us by coming out in a flashy yellow gown reminiscent of ballroom dance.
My biggest disappointment was that the second half had very little to distinguish it from the first half except the change of costumes. There was not much variety in the dances performed by Vitt or Adams and they all performed in the same order so it became predictable.
The one exception to that was Anastasia who came on to stage in a surprisingly sexy skeleton unitard. Lit with UV lights, the bones were eerie as she sung about visibility.
Miss Everheart presents is a fun and clever show, generally speaking and the performers have very clear definitions within their characters and style. Needless to say, the costumes are all magnificent.
I also want to give a quick plug to Anastasia’s upcoming show, Metawhore! which is playing at La Mama from next week. Go along and see it. She is an amazing performer with a biting and clever wit.