With twelve performers from eight countries and three continents, the Best International Newcomer contest of the World Burlesque Games was never going to be anything less than varied.
As said elsewhere by WBG judge Ben Walters, “tits and teeth only get you so far” and for many of the contestants, this was not far enough. The quality of the international performers was generally lower than their British counterparts with fewer standouts and markedly less invention.
France’s Mara de Nudee‘s chocolate cheesecake performance was dark, smooth and classy as she manfully worked her way out of an all-black top hat and tails outfit but overall it was too long by a good couple of minutes. The Netherlands’ Bombshellys caused more than a few eyebrows to shoot skywards with their half-horse/half-Spanish dress outfits; the horseplay-to-cardplay routine was all over the place but never less than watchable. Meanwhile, Puss-n-Boots from New York had some fantastic expressions but her lipsyncing to Shirley Bassey came off as an artificial encumbrance and the actual strip was more pedestrian than the London Marathon. We commend India’s Emma La Luna who overcame a technical hitch right at the beginning of her routine to put in an assured performance full of centrefold poses.
World Burlesque Games
WORLD NEWCOMER CROWN
Winner: Tansy (USA)
First runner-up: Veronique Divine (Portugal)
Second runner-up: Puss-n-Boots (USA)
There was certainly no let-downs in the costume department. France’s Marnie Valentine was Swarovski’d from tiara to toes while the USA’s Tansy wore the kind of dazzling golden outfit that we imagine Cleopatra had on when seducing Mark Anthony. Isis wings may be de rigeur nowadays but we admired Portugal’s Veronique Divine who created a spectacular whirlwind effect with them, disappearing within their folds as she twirled them around.
Our vote though for favourite outfit — and, indeed favourite performer — went to Italy’s Ines Boom Boom. Her take on Carmen Miranda was a combination of live singing and a kaleidoscopic costume with its variety of colours and shapes. Boom Boom owned the stage with her mile-wide smile, expressive eyes and confident choreography. Hers may not have been the sexiest performance of the night but, from her entrance to the appearance of her Chiquita fruit label pasties, we thought we were looking at the winner.
Photo Credits: Lisa Thomson
World Burlesque Games: World Newcomer Crown. Produced by Chaz Royal. Bush Hall, London W12 7LJ. 11 May, 18:30. £35. www.londonburlesqueweek.com.