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Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Absolute Burlesque

Sassy School of Burlesque

Genre: Burlesque

Venue: Paradise at Augustines


Low Down

This is strictly an evening for the taking of the clothes off and leaving the tassels strategically placed. A number of performers do so with varying degrees of skills before a finale that is 500 miles of sheer titivation.


Burlesque has had a renaissance over the years. We have taken away the idea of sleaze and replaced it with a modicum of liberation. How ironic it may feel that the very thing that some got hot and bothered about is now where women have the opportunity to thrive and feel alive.

The problem I have is the lack of theatricality in how it is presented. We have an MC who shuffles and mumbles until announcing the acts. It needs bold and it requires comedy. The banter between those tidying up and the MC is not rehearsed and it leaves us feeling that it might be funny if you were there… or could hear it.

However, you have to take your hat off, as opposed to leaving it on, to the women who have taken the opportunity to perform. It is no mean feat and I can see the varying degree of rehearsal and time that each has taken to get to this stage. I applaud each and every one of them. Sure there were some who seemed more at ease than others but sisterhood does not come with a standard bar set for membership.

The ones who shone the most included the Beetlejuice number which I thought was highly inventive, Trixie Couture who really owned the stage, Miss Purple Rain who used the whole stage and Kitty Nightingale who gave us the Handmaid’s Tale spot. The others had their moments and they were great to see – if you could.

Sight lines were terrible for anything taken onto a chair or the floor and the venue was not a big help, however, you know what your venue is before you perform so some thought could be entered into here.

Individual routines were short and covered most of the right style and type of music though sometimes the lyrics fought with the visuals. The purpose of burlesque should be to do more than scintillate but to stimulate. There were enough smart brains onstage that the next development could be just that.

I got the feeling that this was a night of celebrating women, and their forms were sufficiently varied that it left me feeling glad to have been there. If people were looking for polished burlesque with comedy singing and the like of a very high standard they may have bene left a little disappointed but seeing the joy on each face that revealed herself was enough to make it a show that should return again and again.