Sunday, 5 July 2015

FringeTO: Becoming Burlesque is All Strip And No Tease

I was really looking forward to seeing Becoming Burlesque tonight, anticipating a rowdy titillating experience that I would be sharing  with a Fringe Festival audience--theatre goers who are up for anything; sadly, I have to report that the show just did not work.

Right away, upon walking into the Al Green Theatre, I wondered why director, Jackie English had decided to place action in the pit while the stage remained bare. In my seat near the back of the theatre, I was even more at a loss because I couldn't hear the pre-show dialogue that was happening in the pit/dancers' backstage dressing room. It was the equivalent of a cell phone call cutting in and out. As the house lights came down and the spotlight came up on the stage, I felt relieved that backstage was going to be just that--an area where the dancers would go after performing. Well, I was partiality right: they used the stage for the dances, but there was action in the pit as well. My guess from what I could pick up is that the backstage patter was about the dancers' lives and chatter directed at the new helper who will eventually unleash her "inner Burlesque-self." I was further confused by simultaneous backstage and on-stage action. There was a seductive bit of chair dancing happening on stage in the shadows that should have been given the spotlight over what was happening backstage--what a loss!

Writing off the backstage, I decide to concentrate on the dancing. The opening number with the girls in fringe dresses is fun--you can never go wrong with fringe--and the music is infectious and pumping. As the show progresses, I forgive the stage lighting which doesn't hit everything it needs to because that's just part of being in a festival where multiple shows have to share the same stage, and I look forward to seeing what each girl will do. Bobbing breasts with pasties, feathers, veils and gyrations keep my interest for a while, and the new girl trying to walk in heels and adjust to the brevity of her costume is amusing, but after a while, I realize that there is no tease happening, just strip.  There was no build up to a grand conclusion from either the storyline or the dancing. Choreographer, Pastel  Supernova, is an amazing dancer but the show itself doesn't reflect her ability to tantalize. Too much is revealed too early in the show--dances that should have been longer are truncated for dialogue, and there is no "wow" moment.

Want a real peep? Check out Pastel Supernova's enticing dance to  I Belong to You on Vimeo https://vimeo.com/28681753 and her main website http://www.pastelsupernova.com/welcome.html

Becoming Burlesque
Al Green Theatre (corner of Bloor and Spalding, inside The Miles Nadal JCC)
http://fringetoronto.com/fringe-festival/shows/becoming-burlesque/

Remaining Shows
July 6, 3:15 pm
July 8, 11:00 pm
July 11, 9:45bpm
July 12, 4:00 pm

For all thing Fringe visit http://fringetoronto.com/fringe-festival/

2 comments:

Hye M said...

Thank you for your candid thoughts on this show. Sometimes the venue does not help in ameliorating a show that may need some 'rejigging'... I have tickets for this week, but I will keep your thoughts in mind and make the best of it!

donna g said...

I look forward to reading your review