Do sequins make everything better? Are gym-wear, dildos and guillotines alike crying out for MORE GLITTER? If you answer yes, 'The Hurly Burly Show' might be for you. A lavish production marking the West End breakthrough of contemporary burlesque, it stars Miss Polly Rae, seven dancers and crooner Spencer Day; is directed by Kylie collaborator William Baker; and constitutes as sincere and indiscriminate a tribute to conventional glamour as you'll find.
Its dozen song-and-dance numbers zip from the boudoir to the church to the Wild West to the French Revolution, all sumptuous costumes, energetic choreography, calibrated naughtiness and that sinking feeling.
As a form, burlesque can show a performer taking pleasure in her own body on her own terms, satirise sexual and social mores, or celebrate diverse body types. Wit, insight and character are crucial to those aims but are of limited use to 'The Hurly Burly Show', a revue that instead revels in glitz.
The burden therefore shifts from performers to production yet the execution isn't tight enough truly to wow as spectacle. 'It's not about the tits but the eyes and the moves,' Polly Rae promises. The next line is more honest: 'My corsets are from Harrods and my gloves are from Milan.'
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Ben Walters is spot on. It was all very pretty and sparkly but I felt rather underwhelmed by the whole thing. I became bored with the conveyor belt of tits and bottoms. Very repetitive, hardly any tease and very few surprises. There should have been more variety which, in my view, is usually part of what makes a great burlesque show.
Yes, it was very glittery and girlie and squeaky as the write-up says. The costumes were fab, the sets ok and Polly was archly amusing. But,by the end of the first half, my male partner and I were SO BORED that, in retrospect, we wished we'd just gone home. The music was relentlessly loud, the stripping was quick, repetitive and predictable (except for Kitty Bang Bang - pasties off to her for her amazing en pointe fire eating!) and even cute quivering bottoms are of only limited interest after the first dozen or so. I'd suggest they slow down and provide a little langour, a little teasing rather than a brisky,bouncy and boring 'tits out,bottoms off'' race through the numbers.