The Sparkle Lounge at the Venue, Morecambe

Outside The Venue a young woman smokes anxiously.  Tonight, she tells me, will be her first appearrance on stage as part of Brazen Immodesty‘s Sparkle Lounge Burlesque show and her friends have come to watch.

Inside, the predominantly female audience is in heels, stockings, boas, and all manner of vampish glamour.  Chatting at the bar it seems that burlesque classes are all teh rage these days, and at least one woman is wishing she’d had the nerve to put her lessons to public display.

If you haven’t seen a burlesque show before you might be surprised, it’s not just a posh name for strip tease, and its certainly not lap dancing!  Miss Brazen herself sets the tone, camp, showgirl with a wink.  She’s followed by her students, mostly debutants tonight, Ruby Redkiss, OOh Ah Chocolat and others.  They shimmy, wriggle, strut, highstep and dance across the stage epitomised, for me, by the delightful Charlie Cherries, transformed from that nervous smoker into a coquettish charmer.  Playful, coy, flirtatious and frankly very funny.  She, as most of the girls tonight seem to, has slipped into a character, partly herself, partly cartoonish exaggeration of herself.  ‘Cheesecake’ she called it, and Brazen Immodesty later describes it as equivalent to the old saucy postcards.  Even the choice of music is playful, Eileen Barton’s 1950 hit ‘If I Knew You Were Coming I’d Have Baked A Cake’ with suitable props for Charlie, the Cherry on that cake.

Also on show, from liverpool, and apparently having performed all over the world, was the professional dancer Rosie La Rouge, but in my eyes the newcomers performed better.  Maybe not technically, Rosie and her Rubies put on a syncronised three piece routine that seemed slick and well-choreographed, whereas one or two of the newcomers did show nerves, did mis the odd musical cue (whether a strap stook, a step missed, I don’t know, but they improvised well enough).  But the amateurs were having fun.  Afterwards a couple talked of the rush, exhiliration and wanting to get straight back on stage and do it all again, forgetting the pre-show fears.

It doesn’t matter what kind of performer you are, if you are enjoying it the audience knows and shares that pleasure.  Well done ladies.

And as for burlesque itself?  You’ll see more revealing sights  in Brooks on Saturday night, but it won’t be as much fun, as sexy or as charming as when Petite Desire wagged a teasing finger at the cheering crowd, or Charlie Cherries bounced on her toes, nipple tassles swirling and beamed from ear to ear. 

The Sparkle Lounge returns to Morecambe soon, and I anticipate a few more volunteers of all sizes and ages.

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One Response

  1. Yes, those words say it all – slick and well choreographed. Thats me! Rosie La Rouge.

    My Rubies are from my show group / burlesque class in Ormskirk and are not professional dancers, but they are fabulous.

    I started as a professional dancer / showgirl in 1982 and have worked as a dancer at Benidorm Palace, Gran Palace Lloret, Scala Barcelona, Scala Madrid, Paris Ballet for Juraku Hotels Minakami and Iizaka, to name a few. That professional enough for you?

    Bet you’re wondering how old I am too? A lot older than you’d think, honeys! Mwah!

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