Theatre Review: Between The Sheets at the London Wonderground
This was the first time that I have been to the Spiegeltent on London’s Southbank, so I was a little worried that it might be a bit cold inside…. so I wore a long sleeved shirt. Silly really, because if there was going to be a warm venue, in London, last night, is was going to be one where the artistes were taking their clothes off!
Welcome to the world of Burlesque! Where beautiful, talented performers entertain with a twinkle in their eye and a twirl of their nipple-tassel!
“I never realised they did that!” whispered my “plus one” in awe as tassels rotated in contrary-motion.
Image: Pump Photography
“Awe” is a perfect word for the night, as acts entertained with feats of daring-do, with rope, hoop and fire! We were like Miranda in The Tempest on her first sighting of Ferdinand: what beautiful people, we thought, surely they are spirits.
Our MC for the night was the enchanting, flame-haired Miss Polly Rae . With just the arch of an eye-brow, the drop of a garment and a well placed entendre (oh yes no need for doubles here) she, at once, whipped the oh-so willing audience, into a frenzy, whilst also putting us at our ease.
Image: Pump Photography
The audience are as much part of the show as the acts and they are willing accomplices, cheering, whooping, gasping, whistling and generally having a rather raunchy time throughout the evening.
But the stars are definitely on stage! The whole troupe are mesmerising!
Kitty Bang Bang takes to an 8 foot high, absinthe glass (via a stairway of sugar cubes) and gives us a fire eating act of skill and eroticism. Frisky and Lilly Snatchdragon bring the laughs and Hugo Desmaris hoop act is as hypnotic an act as I have ever seen; spinning faster than the eye can see and still able to walk off the stage without bumping into something. In comparison I get dizzy just turning over in bed!
Special mention must go to boylesque stars Tom Cunningham and Myles Brown. From their James Bond-esque entry I was a little worried that all we would get was another Chippendale act, but it soon became clear that, as world-class dancers, they were much more than glistening six-packs!
The same, in fact, should be said of the whole show and this is why brands such as exotic lingerie company, Coco de Mer are queuing up to add their name alongside the current crop of burlesque super-stars.
The artists could just stand there and take their exquisitely designed clothes off of their perfect bodies and people would come. But what brought this young, stylish, multi-sexual London audience to the London Wonderground is the sheer talent of the acts on display.
I saw The Hurly Burly Show (starring Miss Polly Rae) when it came to London’s West End in 2012 and I asked then whether the rise of Burlesque signalled the death of Variety or whether it was, in fact, like a knight in sparkling sequins, coming to its aid.
Looking back I think the whole of the theatre industry has benefited from the growth in popularity of Burlesque.
More people deserve to come and see Burlesque and I urge everyone out there to do so, but I enjoyed it more and dare I say, it is happier, in a smaller, more intimate venue, like the Spiegeltents and Cafe De Paris of this world, playing to the sort of audiences that owners of West End theatres would give their eye-teeth to attract – young, stylish and enthusiastic.
The last word I will leave to my plus one who also asks if we can take Miss Polly Rae shopping at Coco de Mer!
A razzle of intimate cabaret at the wonderlush, Wonderground. Packed with delights! Miss Polly Rae really knows how to get the audience between her sheets!
Between The Sheets – Details
At the Spiegeltent, London Wonderground – www.londonwonderground.co.uk