The Best of Burlesque
The striptease debate has resolved into a polite evening
This article is from 2016.
Perhaps due to its fascination with retro fashion, an evening of burlesque offers a formulaic programme. There is the saucy banter with the host (Victoria Kember) who both soothes and teases the audience. The artists evoke bygone styles (Queenie O'Hart brings back the musical showstopper while she strips), or subvert stereotypes (Maple Rose gives Canada a new look). And, in more recent years, a boylesque routine steals the show either by messing with gender stereotypes or revealing as much skill as flesh (Teo's precise choreography and classical music fun). It's predictable and satisfying, if not challenging the audience or the performers.
Saucy Pair Cabaret do a nice take on the Titanic (film and disaster), with simmering tensions between the couple expressed in their different ideas of romanticism, but the majority of the acts stick to a comforting, cheeky display of glamour. The humour of the routines removes any lingering doubts about the striptease revival's exploitation of objectification: equally, any sense of danger or provocation has been removed.
The Best of Burlesque is a tasteful evening, coy and more interested in delivering on audience expectation. While it doesn't reveal any exciting new trends, its tested format will appeal to fans without providing anything either controversial or striking.
Assembly George Square Gardens, until 28 Aug, 11.50pm, £13–£16).