When you walk into a Spiegeltent and Post Modern Jukebox is playing, you know you’re in for a swinging good time. Tease Industries first production outside of the Perth International Burlesque festival is in tandem with Sugar Blue and has set the bar high for itself. The big guns have arrived in the form of Bombshell Academy Headmistress and internationally acclaimed performer Lila Luxx, herself the ultimate showgirl who joined the group in two group numbers as well as her own mesmerizing Light Box act. I was looking forward to this show after seeing what a success the festival was this year.
All of the acts were a grouping of performances of either Penelope Pop and The Sugar Duchess, bringing the cute and sassy sex appeal to their acts, or Tipsy Twosome Fifi Fontaine and Lulu Liqueur bring the sex appeal and smouldering. This is smart because you can easily see the rapport onstage between these two sets of performers onstage. These duets were the sweet filling of the show, bringing the Showgirl sweetness which we all crave at these shows. Favourites from each set include Penelope and Sugar’s “Cream” act and the “Gimmie More” show given by Fifi and Lulu with MC Veronica Jean Jones.
There were other supporting cast members in Mia Matthiessen singing all the accompaniment for the performers except for the “Gimmie More” act. I always love seeing live accompaniment to acts and the more ways it can be included in modern Burlesque the better. Bobbie Sox was resident showboy on duty, bringing his suave swing dance technique to the stage, and was the meat in the cutest “Fuzzy Follies” routine with Penelope and Sugar. There are few routines I could watch again easily, this is definitely one of them. MC for the evening was Veronica Jean Jones, a drag queen with my favourite type of mouth: Filthy. However, some of her setups fell flat on the audience, including a lisp joke which you could tell the audience felt uncomfortable listening to.
This show was a great representation of what traditional styled performance can be in modern Burlesque. It can be cute and campy, without necessarily being chaste. However the shows name is "Carousel", in part because of it being marketed as a tribute to Ziegfeld Follies and the idolization and reverence given in Burlesque to them. This is always a winning idea, but I felt this show was more a tribute to Crazy Horse and their iconic work rather than the ideal of the historically classic American Showgirl. I would have loved to have seen more acts that focused on those who became icons because of Ziegfeld, such as Faith Bacon (the first fan dancer in Burlesque), Lucille Ball, Fanny Brice (made famous by Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl) and Billie Burke (who later become Glinda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz), even parody of what a womaniser Ziegfeld was would have been a good juxtaposition in our modern burlesque that rails against shitty behaviour by successful men. But I am also looking at this in a literal sense. The modern showgirl is a completely different behemoth compared to Ziegfelds ideal.
For a first attempt by Tease Industries, this is a high quality show that just needs a little direction to bring it back to focus. Stay tuned to the Tease, because I suspect we’re going to have more great work coming from this production house in the future, and I for one look forward to it.