Home » London Theatre Reviews » An Evening of Burlesque at the Adelphi Theatre | Review

An Evening of Burlesque at the Adelphi Theatre | Review

This is ‘burlesque’ as in a variety show, or ‘American burlesque’, as opposed to ‘Victorian burlesque’ – and as these are terms that can be easily looked up via a search engine of your choice, I won’t bother elaborating on the differences here. Several stripteases took place throughout the evening, sometimes in fairly quick succession. It didn’t quite have the feel of watching something in a continuous loop, as there were sufficient variations between routines – there was even a reverse striptease, performed by Velvet Jones, in which the putting on of clothes was done in a supposedly seductive manner.
An Evening of Burlesque
Watching quite so many teases did provide the audience with the advantage of appreciating how much of an art form it is. In an era where there is plenty of nudity available on the web for anyone who wishes to see it, this wasn’t so much about how much flesh is on display as it was about dance, movement and extraordinary body flexibility. That isn’t to say it doesn’t fall under ‘adult entertainment’ – the evening’s host, Ivy Paige, even referred to ‘post-watershed’ content, even if this was immediately followed, ironically, by a song and dance routine featuring no nudity whatsoever.

It wasn’t all about expressiveness by way of wearing next to nothing. While some variety shows are quite tacky and tiresome, this one had high-quality acts, and had high-quality technical aspects to go with them. If there were any lighting or sound issues on the night, I didn’t detect any. There was only one moment when I wished the show would move on to the next item – Paige had started singing the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song ‘(They Long to Be) Close to You’, which I thought was too mellow for a high-tempo, high-energy tubthumping evening.

The standard advice to sit in the front rows at one’s own peril applied, and I chortled heartily at a routine by ‘international circus showman extraordinaire’ Matt Pang, who attempted to get out of a straitjacket unaided whilst on a unicycle (whether he succeeded would be giving too much away), mostly because of the audience volunteers’ attempts to keep Pang and his unicycle steady before the act properly got underway. Sebastian Angelique’s fire routine tried a bit too hard for me, with too many gestures to the audience to applaud each and every part of the act – I take the view that if something extraordinary happens, the audience will respond accordingly.

Saucy Davis Jr has a great singing voice, performing with charm and charisma. The headline act, Isabella Bliss, saved her most spectacular routine for last – her opening scene, in the guise of Marilyn Monroe, had a couple of audience members suggesting places to go for a holiday: their answers were commensurate with the cost of living crisis. L’Sheila Showgirls were the closest thing the show had to an ensemble, and it was pleasing that they had their own moments in the spotlight. Not all of magician Christian Lee’s punchlines resulted in hearty laughter, though he made a solitary card trick last a remarkably long time. I suppose blowing up an absurdly large balloon with a leaf blower and then fixing it on his head was amusing to some people.

The show as a whole went on for half an hour longer than it should have done, and this was a feeling gratified when I looked up the performance schedule after the show – it did indeed run longer than advertised. ‘Less is more’ is a phrase that couldn’t be more appropriate for a burlesque show: it would have been a more engaging evening if it was less repetitive.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

Roll up, roll up. . . a scintillating night out of sparkling entertainment – the UK’s longest running burlesque show is making its West End debut.

An Evening of Burlesque is the ultimate variety show, blending stylish cabaret, comedy, music, circus and burlesque to light up all your senses.

Boasting world-class entertainers and stars of the stage and screen, prepare for an extravaganza of glitz and glamour!

Expect fun, feathers and fabulous costumes as we pick from the finest selection of specialty artistes, cabaret and circus stars, comedians and champagne showgirls! It’s the perfect night for everyone.

An Evening of Burlesque is filled with artistic spectacle that has enraptured audiences for centuries. This sensational variety show brings together a bounty of beautiful stars for an unrivalled variety show for the 21st Century!

An Evening of Burlesque
Adelphi Theatre
London, WC2R 0NS

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