Edinburgh Fringe 2010
A comedy bill with Lou Conran as compere is in good hands. If her name is on the programme, you can relax: you’re in for a good night. She’s masterful at owning a room, and manages that rare talent of being able to tease audience members while becoming their best friend for the night. She is a major reason why we like the Bra Ha Ha so much.
How you like the Bra Ha Ha depends largely of course on how you take your burlesque. The form is undergoing something of a backlash at the moment (no pun intended), which is somewhat inevitable result of any phenomenon that’s become popular. But burlesque should at it’s heart be smart, sexy, carefree, and, crucially, funny.
Kitty and her cohorts appear therefore to have hit upon a winning formula. Lou Conran warms the audience up admirably, and is followed by a mix of comic acts and some of the very best in burlesque acts. Given the cabaret nature of the evening, it’s a sure bet that each night will differ greatly, but from what we’ve witnessed, no audience is ever going to walk away thinking that they turned up on the weak night, although we could have coped with seeing more of Kitty Cointreau herself (not in that way, settle down), as she is a singularly dazzling performer, able to own any audience.
We’re going to have to dock a point, though, and that’s for the venue. The Roxy is an excellent place to perform, but this particular room isn’t for the Bra Ha Ha. Most of the intimate atmosphere is stolen, and the too-large stage, littered with cables and leads, swamps most of the performers (with the almost predictable exception of Kitty herself, who is confident and sassy enough to transport the audience to her own world), and the theatre-style staging oddly illuminates the possibility that a good few of the audience is here for no other reason than to see a bit of flesh, which of course, is not the real motive at all. However, the show itself is fun, cheeky, sexy and vibrant.