Stafford’s only burlesque and variety show shimmied back onto the stage for the first time this year – bringing a few surprises for fans.
The glittering show, Très Très Cabaret, was performed on the small, intimate stage of the MET Studio at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre and included a global cabaret sensation and some “boylesque”.
Sharply-dressed host Stage Door Johnny had the room giggling as he explained the rules for the night in his usual musical style. The comic raconteur, who never fails to set the tone, had everyone belly-laughing throughout the night with his ridiculous self-penned medleys.
The first burlesque act was retro ray of sunshine Good Ness Gracious, who showed everyone just how she liked her eggs in the morning. Her animated facial expressions really injected humor into her routine, and her actions were matched to the music. She was cute as a button and walked onto the stage dressed like a Disney princess in a fluttering yellow robe with matching hair bow and gloves. But she gradually shed that look to reveal a vintage-style powder blue babydoll nightgown, followed by the big reveal.
Next up was a first for Très Très, in the form of “boylesque” dancer Dave The Bear, who strutted out dressed as a sort of drunken pirate version of Game of Thrones’ Khal Drogo. He was clad in leather and jangling coins and was not shy. The ladies on the front table – and a man who may have been regretting his seating decision – were treated to an eyeful of this hairy pirate. The raunchier and more ridiculous his performance, the more you found you just couldn’t look away. By the time he left the stage, my face hurt from laughing.
Dave The Bear returned later in the evening wearing his leathers and a motorcycle helmet which looked like a disco ball, which is exactly what he used it for! He stripped off his jacket to reveal fairy lights underneath and began shedding more clothes until he was down to a sort of glittering snood which covered his goods – which lit up, obviously.
Another burlesque dancer bringing some vintage chic to the night was Cherry Shakewell, who had donned a blue velvet dress dripping with pearls and a huge white feather boa. The 60s queen wiggled and strutted around the audience, deconstructing her dress and revealing a full moon. Her mastery over glittering nipple tassels was second to none, and she must have provided some inspiration because a few people purchased some in the interval!
Cherry returned later in a futuristic space-themed dress paying homage to Barbarella. She swirled her Isis wings in the classic elegant burlesque fashion, but her eyes held the intense look of something otherworldly – perhaps she was feeling the weight of all that piled up 60s hair.
Another ‘male’ performer took the stage in the form of Luke Warm, who bore a striking resemblance to Good Ness Gracious, but could well have been Ron Burgundy’s cousin. I’d never seen a burlesque dance to the song Business Time by Flight of the Conchords – but I’m glad I have now. Luke Warm was suitably repulsive, with his 70s moustache and ginger hairy chest, and he added to the roaring laughter which echoed throughout the night.
Cabaret sensation Sarah Louise Young was the caricature of a French tortured artist as she took on the guise of La Poule Plombée. She sang of the sad tale of her falling out with singer Édith Piaf and lamented over the fact that while her nemesis was called The Little Sparrow, she was simply referred to as The Frumpy Pigeon.
Taking a turn in the complete opposite direction, she returned later as Country ‘n’ Western singer, Sammy Mavis Junior, who brought a burst of energy to the stage in her skimpy leopard print dress. Her crude humour and hilarious character comedy provided a great end to a truly cracking night out.
If you missed this performance, you can catch the next Très Très Cabaret show on July 13 at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre. Get tickets, priced at £15.50, here or call the box office on 01785 619080.
Publishers of Staffordshire Living magazine