Review: Burlezque: Spellbound

If you have been around the Perth Burlesque scene for the last two years, then you are well aware that the troupe on everyone’s lips these days is Burlezque. The troupe is comprised of all queer identifying femme performers and nearly every show they have been putting on at the Ellington during the year sells out. I knew I was in for a good show, but I was not prepared to see such a slick and professional show on top of some of the highest quality burlesque in Australia. That’s right, not just Perth. Australia.

The show opens playing with stereotypes of what happens when girls get together for slumber parties, unwittingly summoning the MC for the evening Ginger La Minge. Ginger was perfect at setting the tone, their monologues setting up the payoff of each act perfectly. They was more than just MCing, they became the every-woman chorus asking the audience to think further than what they were seeing about the complexities of the queer spectrum and the “queer pie”.

Ava Royale bursts onto the stage as a woman in red, their gaze never faltering from the crowd as we realize too late that we are under this devilish fiends spell. Ava is a performer that uses a mix of modern and classic movements that scorched the stage, I cannot wait to see them take over the world. This was just the opening performance and we were already enraptured.

Fae Salem’s act sent tingles over my skin as we watched them become the “bad guy” androgynous Vampire. They know how to work that stage and we were tense waiting for each strip of their costume. We wanted more even when someone screamed in the audience “stop it!” in ecstasy.

Polly St Pearl was a sultry Cupid, eager to lose their wings and that cherubic nature, they could have stepped out of an INXS film clip with their sensual serenity onstage. The act was over far too soon for me, I wanted to be entranced more by this angel of the stage.

Sammy Sparkles’ homage to the jeweled Catacomb saints of Europe was a golden delight to watch. Sammy is proud of their modern dance background, and really lets their training lose in this act, classical music soaring and rising just like the drama of this particular striptease.

But it was the final moments of this act when the audience lost their minds. As Sammy finishes their act, a seamless commencement occurs of Veruca Sour’s act, matching movements and then taking over the stage as a corpse reawakening. Veruca is normally a queen of comedy, but this ghoulish performance shows the range of Veruca’s abilities as a burlesque performer. It was a completely successful level up for them.

Ava St James made us not want to sit nice and be quiet, they shed their skin onstage and we were too scared to look away at this majestic Medusa and their fiery performance, hoping that thy would turn us to stone.

After being satisfied with such a degustation of burlesque performances, I thought I was full. But turns out we had room for one more and the finale act of the High priestess of our coven of performers, current reigning Miss Burlesque Australia, Bettie Bombshell left us dumbfounded at the spell they put on us. We were left weak already, but Bettie sealed the deal in making sure we left dead and begging to be raised from the dead into their army of acolytes.

The finale brought out all the performers wearing capes made of different queer flags in the community, and while we say not all heroines wear capes, these performers do and are swiftly becoming the heroines of queer art in Perth. Do not miss this show if you have the opportunity to see it. I’m hoping they’ll repeat this show during the year so that I can pay reverence to these performers again.

DD xxx

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