I always love taking along a friend who hasn't been to burlesque before. The 'O' of their mouth as they realise how much fun it is. The shaking with laughter, the gasping with amazement, the sparkle of sexiness. Even though they know, because I told them, they always comment on how seeing women of all different shapes and sizes makes us feel good about ourselves.
Burlesque is about watching performers who are freely being themselves, and that makes you feel free to enjoy being yourself. Frankly, it is just a sign of how sexist and sick our society is, that there isn't a burlesque show being put on in a top venue every weekend for women (and men) to go to and enjoy seeing how sexy and smart and super every woman is. (Yes, you too. If you don't believe me, go to a burlesque show and find out.)
Betty Blue-Eyes plays wittily with reluctance and pleasure. She put on a star turn with her prim office worker who hits the gin and starts revving it up. In the second act, she also did a great Bingo stripper, anxiously looking to see what number is coming up and what she will have to remove next.
I didn't think anyone could top the version of Let It Go which I saw at the First International Welsh Cabaret (you can still get the tote bags, BTW! LOL). I was right, but Arabella Sparkles came pretty close. Words fail me! The way she managed to get Olaf the Snowman into the act was ... inspired! You just have to go and see it. And you just have to go and see it to understand how hysterically funny and sexy Foo Foo Labelle can make rolling around on the floor in a sleeping-bag with tassles on it, in a caterpillar act. The way she made those tassels twirl!
Another thing I love about the Cardiff burlesque is that all those taking part in the burlesque classes get to put on a couple of group acts in the show. Foo Foo Labelle works hard to make sure newbies get a good showing too. So if you are thinking you will join a slimming club after going through several selection boxes of chocolates and biscuits at Christmas, I suggest you put the money into some classes instead. You will have so much fun you'll forget to comfort eat and if the weight drops off with the fun and exercise, you'll regret losing your embonpoint as bigger ladies do look better onstage in the sparkly corsets.
Headline act of the show was the inimitable Velma Von Bon Bon. Seriously - don't try this at home! Her fabulous striptease while riding a pink puppet flamingo was just ... a masterpiece. To top the show off, she did the Natalia Kalashnikov act in which she pretended to be a washed up alcoholic drunken Russian pole dancer, who wants to imitate Dita von Teese getting into a martini glass. OK, but uh ... look at the von Teese's martini glass - and yes, Velma Von Bon Bon's was up on top of a tall pole. I sort of knew, but I couldn't believe she was going to manage to get up that pole into that little butt-sized bowl on top.
Not only did Velma get up there, she did it in considerable style. We were laughing our heads off at her inept drunken attempts to climb up the pole while wearing a tight fitted dress, then ooohing in amazement as she swung herself round and hung off the rim of the glass by only her toes. And of course in a final daring set of swings, she gracefully ended up sitting in the 'glass'. One lucky guy in the audience was invited onstage to help her out. He was allowed to squirt pretend vodka over her from a water bazooka! I expect he is still waking up with wet dreams after that (wink).
Basically, for an evening of fun, wit, laughter, sexiness, sparkle and sheer good times, you just can't beat the burlesque. As if there wasn't enough sparkle, the Glee Club were serving bottles of Prosecco (among other drinks), pizzas, burgers and nachos. Don't tell Foo (wink); I would pay double! By gosh, by golly - they have already set the ticket price even lower for the next show: Dazzling Debuts: New Year Delights!! I'm going on Facebook now to confirm I'm going ...