Andromeda Circus

New In Town: Cirque Noir, Trapeze Bar

Read more

Situated along a stretch of road between Old Street and Shoreditch, the Trapeze Bar is equal parts Digital Roundabout and Magic Roundabout. Here, the booted and suited sit alongside the hirsute hipsters in booths and around tables, all shouting over the incredibly loud music.

New night Cirque Noir is this joint’s new monthly trip to the dark side of cabaret. Music, burlesque, sideshow and circus are all on show here in this cosy supperclub. Host Joe Morose holds this affair together with aplomb, songs and more than a few bawdy gags. His mission statement is simple: “if you leave here not offended, fuck you.” Whether or not offence is taken, it is likely that punters will leave with many a watercooler moment care of Morose and his motley crew of petite ecdysiast Ruby Deshabille, fiery showgirl Hannah Lou and superlative Spanish acrobat Andromeda Circus.

Main man Morose’s apparel of black from top hat to heels gives him the appearance of a gothic Artful Dodger or an emo Sally Bowles out to outrage all and sundry. With the voice of an angel and the mind of a filthy old man, the babyfaced compère is not above adding some earthy humour to songs like Come Together or Creep. A morass of crassness he may be at times but he draws the line between lewd and crude with exquisitely pointed banter and witty ad libs. Heckle this man at your peril.

Joe Morose gives one audience member something to remember at Cirque Noir.
It’s in his kiss: Joe Morose gives one audience member something to remember at Cirque Noir.

It is a small cast but all four members pull double shifts over two halves to bring the punters what they came for. With buttcheeks that could crack coconuts and eyes that search deep within the soul, Ruby Deshabille’s smouldering looks are an asset to her classic routines. Hannah Lou’s sideshow antics are a visceral treat and her costumes and choreography raise them a notch or two above the usual end-of-pier gimmickry. Appearing in a nun’s habit, her kinky take on monastical suffering sees her put out a cigarette on her tongue and pour candlewax over herself before the coup de grâce of stapling items to her breasts and backside. To be sure, these are not uncommon sights in cabaretland but Hannah Lou stylishly embellishes them with a saucy insouciance and a crystal clear non-verbal fuck-you.

And then there’s Andromeda Circus. Oh my. Acrobats tend to be the felines of the vaudeville world: on stage, they usually mutely walk around with a confident swagger before casually sauntering through the air or expertly flipping this way and that. Andromeda may be of their ilk but his approach can be incredibly intense. One act sees him adopt a series of considered yoga poses in a demonstration of poetic athleticism, bending into and out with the speed and purpose of a determined turtle. His second outing is a more bombastic affair: appearing beneath a red Mohican hairpiece and in a white leather harness and jockstrap, he dives straight into some fluent fire-eating before creating flaming illuminations that Blackpool would be jealous of. If you only see one circus act this year, you really should get out more often, but Andromeda Circus’ breathtaking quality and quantity of skills is sure to light up any show he features in.

It is early days for Cirque Noir but its current incarnation lays sturdy foundations for what is to come. This is definitely one to keep an eye on.

The monthly Cirque Noir returns to the Trapeze Bar on 29 October. Tickets are £15-£35. Check the Trapeze Bar website for further details. 


The Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival Is Back!

Read more

The Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival 2015 opens its doors next Thursday for four packed days of shows, workshops and more. We look into what this shining jewel of the UK burlesque scene has to offer.

Fans of the art of burlesque may remember the frankly and rather hilariously misinformed Hebden Burlesque Festival brouhaha of 2013. In a nutshell, an elected official who apparently didn’t know the first thing about burlesque decided to deny the festival the opportunity to take place in a council-managed building, saying that she considered that the art form “arouses strong feelings, and many people feel it is demeaning to women, and raises issues of gender equality”. Which is odd, considering that this just isn’t true and, moreover, Hebden Bridge has a reputation for being really rather liberal, at least when it comes to women.

Heidi Bang Tidy, who co-produces the festival with fellow performer Lady Wildflower, insisted at the time that burlesque was a “legal and legitimate art form” and that “we object to being told that the people of Hebden Bridge are not capable of deciding for themselves whether they wish to purchase a ticket for a burlesque show and that our show is not an ‘appropriate’ use of a public building”.

Unperturbed by all that, this year Tidy and Wildflower return with the UK’s most “inappropriate” festival, or for the grown-ups among us, Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival, and the line-up is blinding. Rosie Lugusi, Khandie Khisses, Vicky Butterfly, Andromeda Circus, The Boy With Tape On His Face, Lili La Scala and Tricity Vogue will all be there, along with the renowned “Anti-Art School” Dr Sketchy’s. The festival, which runs from Thursday 30th April – Sunday 3rd May 2015, looks set to be a long weekend of fun, frolicking, fabulousness and potentially a glittery middle finger to those locals of a more sensitive disposition.

Boy with Tape
The Boy With Tape on His Face.

 

The festival features a plethora of live shows spread over four venues in two towns, Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge. The party is kicked off next Thursday by a charity fundraiser and Burlesque Bazaar hosted by The Voice’s Kiki Deville. Rosie Lugosi helms the Late Night Cabaret the next evening and Heidi Bang Tidy reveals the stars of tomorrow at the Legend In The Making Newcomers Competition. The winner of that contest joins an all-star cast at the following day’s Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival Gala featuring Vicky Butterfly, Russell Bruner, The Boy With Tape on His Face and Violet Blaze.

There will also be plenty to do during the day with twelve different workshops providing an education in a number of areas. Attendees can learn to bump’n’grind with Khandie Khisses, get lessons on the art of the fan-dance or dive into “Burlesque for Beginners” classes. And then there’s the whip cracking workshops, vintage hair tutorials, aerial taster sessions and lessons on how to play a ukelele with Tricity Vogue, who is also bringing her swing band along to perform at the festival.

All in all, the weekend will be packed with scintillating burlesque acts, amazing circus performances and engaging workshops. Get there and show the town just why burlesque is something worth celebrating for everyone.

For information and to book tickets check out the Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival website.