Disappointing attempt to link cabaret and the wild west
Both Fancy Chance and Empress Stah have demonstrated that burlesque can be provocative, erotic and challenging, and when they bring their party pieces to this show, they are stunning. Playing the hero and the villain in the weak narrative that binds together a series of routines, Chance swings from a rope tied to her hair, while Stah gets aerial with lasers projecting from her bottom. These acts are spectacular, hinting at the BDSM influences that have inspired their previous work.
Unfortunately, until this point, the company seem to be running at half-speed. The plot, which involves Chance selling snake oil, then defeating Stah in a tassle-twirling contest, is puerile, even as an excuse for the routines. Mr Ted's drag sketch relies heavily on getting laughs from an audience member on stage, and My Bad Sister, despite being talented singers and dancers, present too many generic commercial dance numbers to pad out the time. Missa Blue is outstanding with the fire-eating, but the show takes so long to get to the grand finales.
The plot isn't the point, but it structures the show, taking up time with explanations and banter. Stah and Chance still have the spectacular skills, and none of the performers fail to deliver. Unfortunately, the poor hook and pacing leaves The Raunch pedestrian and predictable, and not giving enough space for the stars to shine.
Underbelly's Circus Hub, run ended.