Brighton Fringe 2016
The audience are met by the quirky and well rehearsed Pete Saunders as he delivers the melancholic blues with his gritty and infectious vocals which eases the crowd into his self-confessed mid-life crisis story for the next hour. Whilst interacting with the audience, true cabaret style, Pete plays some introductory songs and gives permission to the audience to settle into the show. The antidote to the score is the memorising golden Ivy Paige a celebrated and acclaimed burlesque and cabaret performer known for her sensual singing and seductive wit, accompanied by two strip tease sets.
In 2005 Pete Saunders worked at a London burlesque/cabaret venue in Holborn, playing the piano before shows and introducing acts. This led to him putting shows together such as Blues and Burlesque. Blues and Burlesque became an independent performing group with Vicious Delicious and Bouncy Hunter putting on weekly shows at Volupte with artists such as Dusty Limits and Polly Rae and then other Venues. In August 2012 after leaving Volupte the group put on a show at the Counting House in the Edinburgh fringe festival with regular sell out shows. This was repeated in 2013 in the Blind Poet with Scarlett Belle performing instead of Bouncy Hunter. In 2014 Pete took the Blues and Burlesque group to the Perth and Adelaide Fringe festivals where they had two sell out runs.
Previous shows have pulled upon the talent of Scarlett and Vicious to support the revealing storyline of two rival performers using the core burlesque style of the comedic and parody nature to take over the stage. This show brings Pete’s imaginative and brilliant score to the forefront and we experience three strip tease acts punctuated by Ivy Paige. Ivy reminds us that not all burlesque is about taking clothes off and her cabaret performance manages to hold every member of the audience captive in her sugar coated venom dialogue and mesmerising singing voice as she pulls on the audience strings to participate in the experience. The connection between Pete and Ivy is playful and electric creating many levels of tension that punctuate the hour.
The two talented strip tease acts donned beautiful costumes and the crowd pleaser feather fans and flaming nipple tassels yet lacked the true burlesque elements of extensive layers of fabric, displaying the beauty of the costumes cavorting on the female body, a themed storyline and the classical dance aesthetic of line and form. Instead the acts were over very quickly focussing on the strip. The show would truly benefit to return and hone in on the comedic storyline of the burlesque dancer and allow her time in the ritual and a through line for the show to draw together burlesque, blues and cabaret.
Saunders vocal style and wit provided a memorable experience along with his observational one liners and packed full to the brim original songs shared at times with the glorious Ivy Paige. A recommended show to catch in the highly appropriate Rialto Theatre.