Welcome to the wonderful world of Dixey. A fabulous fairy-tale where burlesque meets Walt Disney. Always light, always entertaining, and with the noblest unicorn I’ve ever seen.
Dixey (named for the first ever male burlesquer Henry E Dixey) is a top class show, produced by Beyond The Cabaret, and though the tag line lets us know there’s going to be some flesh on display, the gentleman – and women – of the show are immaculately turned out regardless of how many clothes they wear. The costuming is divine, and the show’s designer is reclaiming beauty for the boys, without ever denying their masculinity. My only question is, what do you call a penis pasty?
Our glittering woodland fawn host is boylesque pioneer Tigger!, who captivates us from his first cheeky peek out of the white pinwheel flowers and cut-out trees that form the enchanting set, then presents an impeccable invisible striptease. Framed as a story about three handsome princes, a beautiful princess and a dark lady, the show offers circus and peel magic – and, of course, that unicorn.
The Stage Door Johnnies are our distinctly different princes and, after being reprimanded for too much clothing in their introductory dance routine, they return with individual acts. Ray Gunn, last year’s King of Burlesque, is sinuous in shedding his red snake skin, slithering up and down a pole; Jett Adore is the handsome but dim peacock butterfly, wooing the lovely ladies; Bazuka Joe is that delightful horny horse, prancing and tossing his head around his vault staff, then stripping down to a harness that allows Tamzen to bring him under her dark spell, leading her and her wicked smile to her rock metal aerial chains act. We have more circus art from Zoe Jones as the melancholy – and flexible – fairy princess, in a detailed hand-balance choreography; later she seduces Tamzen in a super-sensual acrobalance routine. I enjoy the fact that the two seem to have been cast against type in their good/evil roles, which gives the number added depth.
I’m less impressed with the vaudeville attempts at clowning from Russell Bruner, not bad exactly, but not up to the same high standards of the rest of the troupe tonight. When he returns for a second slot and starts removing his clothes, however, his performance does take on more of a shine.
Tigger! also has a spot as a down’n’out drag stripper, which is very funny and meta-theatrical to boot, with a dramatic ending that draws winces and laughs in equal measures.
Producer Sean Mooney, and Associate Director Dusty Limits have made sure that, with the fairytale concept, you could almost bring your kids along, safe in the knowledge that they’d be as fully entertained as your adult friends and family. Just keep chugging out the “You’ll understand when you’re older” line. That is, as long as you don’t mind them getting a bit of an eyeful of course. And as long as you give them a strict “Don’t try this at home” caveat. On second thoughts, maybe you’d best leave them behind. It is past their bedtime after all, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the show, in all its glories, much better without them hampering your whoops and catcalls. And there are some things you’d rather not have to try and explain.
Nevertheless, this is a show that would be difficult not to enjoy. While we get a fine dose of smut, the material stays away from the edgy and focuses on good old cheeky entertainment and sumptuous design. A cracking light-hearted – and gorgeous – good-time.
Dixey: Where gentlemen are always immaculately undressed. Presented by Bound & Gagged Comedy, by arrangement with Beyond the Cabaret. Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh EH8 9SU. £12-15. 22:10 1-24 August. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/dixey-where-gentlemen-are-always-immaculately-undressed