Burlesque is having a rebirth. No longer is the art of strip tease and pole dancing performed in secret, behind the closed doors of ‘Gentlemen Only’ clubs, but it is becoming the 21st century, twenty-something girl’s choice if leisure, fitness and confidence building. It, of course, wouldn’t be long before London’s West End caught up with this craze and produced a West End style burlesque show to brighten up a grey, breezy March evening.
Miss Polly Rae is the headliner, followed dutifully by her Hurly Burly Girls, a collection of 6 beautiful and enticing young women, shimmying and sashaying through a full evening of Burlesque entertainment. The only male (possibly in his dream job) is Spencer Day, who acts as compère, interacts playfully with the girls, and even shows off his smooth, charismatic vocal ability. If you closed your eyes, it was almost Michael Bublé…almost.
Miss Polly Rae is obviously highly skilled in the art of Burlesque, with her silky smooth curves and the perfect red pout, she added an element of fun to her performance. Her costumes are nothing short of beautiful and as each layer comes off, more stunning corsets and lingerie are revealed. Being a contemporary style Burlesque show, The Hurly Burly Show incorporates singing into the evening to make it more integrated into the Musical Theatre genre. Miss Polly Rae doesn’t have a very strong voice, and it’s obvious that her skills lie mainly in her seductions and strip tease, but the effort is good, and she is backed up by her girls when needed. What was most refreshing about the whole performance was the mixture of music from the 1940s and 50s with modern, contemporary pop music.
The Hurly Burly Girls really made the show for me. Performing with wonderful sparkle and cheekiness, you could tell each one of them thoroughly enjoyed their jobs. What I liked most was the fact that each girl got a small solo in the show, usually on the apron of the stage in front of the curtain as a scenery change occurred behind. This allowed them to show their own individual style and personality. These solos ranged from an acrobatic and gymnastic routine, to a balletic strip tease complete with pointe-shoes, to one of the girls being covered only in balloons and popping them all one by one – with the audience’s help! These girls must have all the confidence in the world, true to traditional Burlesque form, all were to eventually be nude apart from strategically placed sparkles and tassels.
Knowing very little about Burlesque, I went along with a couple of girlfriends and an open mind. The lavish sets enhanced the production but didn’t go as far as to make the atmosphere sleazy. Each different ‘set’ was varied, had it’s own theme and it’s own appeal. Glitzy, glamorous and sexy, The Hurly Burly Show can be enjoyed to men and women alike. Me and my friends enjoyed a glass of bubbly in the interval and came out at the end strutting up the street trying to emulate the hip-swaying movements of the girls.
Perhaps not the show to go to with your aging parents or grandparents, and definitely not one for a first date (unless you want your date to be eyeing up scantily clad women), but for a fun night out with all your best girlfriends it’s a must! Ladies – if you go with your other half, be prepared for them to be engrossed the whole way through, my advice? Use it as inspiration for when you want to get their attention back! There is a very fun little section in the middle, I won’t tell you what, you’ll have to find out for yourselves, but think ‘audience participation’!
The Hurly Burly Show – Garrick Theatre
Miss Polly Rae
The Hurly Burly Girls
29th March 2011