Made of new material and snippets from different productions by House of Burlesque, the production company’s eponymous showcase at the Priceless London Wonderground spiegeltent has its finger on the pulse of burlesque in its many guises. When the House hits the tent, inhibitions dissolve and a world of fantasy comes together with exuberant glamour and clever satire.
Stranded on an island as per travelling revue Shipwrecked, Italian belle Jolie Papillon throws caution to the wind in a graceful and seductive fast-paced fan dance set to Benny Goodman’s Sing, Sing, Sing. Clown extraordinaire Audacity Chutzpah keeps her wits about her, undressing as a desperate attempt to draw attention from a rescue airplane in an ingeniously comic parody of Castaway, complete with Wilson the friendly volleyball.
As the evening moves on through excerpts from other acclaimed shows like monthly tournament Burlesque Idol and Edinburgh sensation Circus Burlesque, a stampede of bump-and-grinders put different sides of the genre under the spotlight. Chrys Columbine doesn’t miss a single note of Chopin, which she plays herself at the piano while performing a striptease of seamless elegance and languid poise. Acrobat Jo Foley balances with catlike charm on an aerial hoop, followed by the filthy character comedy of a Jennifer Lopez piss-take by Abi Collins.
Brilliant comedy follows with Delores Deluxe and her hilarious parody of a botched stage magic starter kit where recorded instructions take delightfully unexpected turns. Ballerina and opera diva Leoni Soprano sings Freddy Mercury’s Barcelona, matching crisp vocals and moves in a beautiful dance number.
House of Burlesque’s succession of stories is held together by Tempest Rose. The compère provides a narrative context and transitions between the acts. Cheered by her naughty banter and rich voice, the amused audience is likely to leave convinced that being stranded on an island is nothing but great fun.
Judging from this tantalising greatest hits showcase, Tempest Rose’s production company is worth keeping an eye on. If you like steamy sensuality and tongue-in-cheek sass, you’ll feel at home in this house.
House of Burlesque. Hosted by Tempest Rose. Priceless London Wonderground Spiegeltent at the Southbank Centre, London SE1 8XX. 23 May, 27 June, 21:30; 25 July, 21:00. £15.50 (£14 concessions). www.houseofburlesque.co.uk