September 14th 2010

Greenwich Comedy Festival:

Burlesque After Dark

Review by Colin Dibben

Being a live burlesque virgin, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this late-night show in the Cabaret Lounge tent. Based on watching a Tempest Storm movie on the telly with my dad some years ago, I had an idea it might include scantily clad ladies and a bit of a sing song.

Well, it was a lot more high-concept than that: a rather fetching kimono-ed Asahi Lashes (yes, she had very long eye lashes) sat on a swing - in a 15-foot birdcage be-decked with flowers - reading a bedtime story to the audience. According to the tale, the women performing were alt-universe Alices, Cinderellas, Mary Poppinses who had mysteriously washed up in Greenwich ...

Before the loosening of clothing started, Emma Divine sung some cabaret standards that were nicely tweaked for the midnight audience. The performers then followed one another with startling rapidity, so apologies where I have mixed up names and performances.

Chrys Columbine stripped to her own piano playing, her arpeggios punctuated with accoutrements flung across the stage; Misty Waters put on more clothes than she is probably used to wearing - as a suffragette, who shed layers to give us an intriguing history lesson; Beau Burlington, clown and dancer (cleverly circumventing the 3am
nightmare that those words conjure up together) played a balloonist making her escape from the venue wearing aviator goggles and not much else; and finally a delightful young woman, Sophia St Villier, shimmied her dress off from behind a splendid purple feather boa, before showering herself with glitter from a champagne bottle.

Emma Divine’s finale had us all scratching our heads over an onstage crossword – a suitably demure end to all the horseplay.

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