Posts Tagged ‘burlesque





Brisbane Powerhouse & Jacqueline Furey

Brisbane Powerhouse Visy Theatre

November 23 – 25 2017


Reviewed by Rhumer Diball



Armed with a lineup of  chiseled “Menu Men”, Jacqueline Furey and her team grace the Brisbane Powerhouse’s Wonderland festival with Wurst: a delicious assortment of meal-themed stripteases and cabaret acts. Hostess Jacqueline Furey sports a collection of glamorous gowns and an elegant demeanor as she serves up the diverse evening of comedic cabaret and beguiling burlesque. A collection of sexy male performers, affectionately referred to as the “Menu Men”, come together to present a selection of bawdy, cheeky and tantalising acts. Be it ballet or hip-hop finesse, an enthralling exhibition of acrobatic ability, or cheeky exploitation of accents, the erogenous men demonstrate their diversity and embrace their distinct backgrounds throughout every performance.


Graceful Furey lays out the food-themed showcase like courses in a sexy feast of flavoured variety. From raunchy roast dinners to sweet yet sultry ice cream and milkshake mess for dessert, the show is loaded to the brim with variety to suit a range of tastes. While the focal food theme allows for sweet dance numbers – highlights include a cheeky lollipop trio and a playful whole-body baking demonstration, the showcase unfolds in a staggered progression of underlying premises and unpredictable maturity levels. Performance content may link together with a lens of food or audience devouring of the young men overall, however the ordering of the pieces ensures that one theme, style or performer entices the audience with distinctive substance and well paced deliveries. The acts also range in stimulating intensity and physical exposure, keeping the audience on their toes during unpredictable skits during what could have been a predictable lineup of repetitive strip sequences.



The only downfall of the work is the choice to include two considerably similar hip-hop dance sequences. Perhaps the recent Magic Mike popularity justifies the inclusion of one clichéd grey-singlet adorned, hip-hop dance work to break up the indulgent food-based content, however two in an evening offered little more than diverting movement. The two acts also lacked in the striptease element that the show promises, leaving audiences calling out for more if only to match the physical reveal reached in the other acts. This audience teasing helped to rekindle appetites for the remaining performances mid-show, but unfortunately rendered the respective floor grinding and muscle manipulation uncanny and undistinguished.


Gender blending Raven and physically diverse Dan are the standout Menu Men of the night, offering up twists to traditional role archetypes and stretching the recipe for where the evening’s content could reach. Traditionally handsome and classically trained Dan Venz plays with the subtle eroticism of his ballet body and the assets that come with tight-fitting white stockings. In stark contrast is Raven sporting a dramatic white mask with intense lashes and black crosses over his nipples while performing as the night’s stand alone drag queen. With a shocking opening 50s housewife skit exploring roast chicken sensuality and a dominatrix dog training session breaking comfort levels at the lineup’s climax, Raven’s acts were definitely the most provocative and potent.



Amongst the diversity and intensity of the male acts, the night’s hostess’ performance was equally as praiseworthy. Despite an innuendo segment being delivered overdone for a contemporary cabaret context, Furey’s overall performance is elegant and erotic from start to finish. However, amongst poised audience captivation, it is Furey’s humane responses to audience heckling and humble admittance to hilarious speech stumbles that pushes her performance beyond a stale, simplistic cabaret host that is seen far too often. Furey entices her audiences with glamour and prowess but truly wins them over with her sassy humanity and well-timed sense of humour.


With rich yet simplistic costumes and stage design the production focuses on the raw attraction of the performers and their presence on stage. By combining an array of performance strengths and fusing together styles and techniques from both cabaret and burlesque, Wurst forefronts the power of simplicity and reinforces the joy of a playful night at the theatre.



Cabaret de Paris is back!









A burlesque hip hop circus mash-up, a glamorous package of exotic dancers, illusionists, adagio performers and a razor-sharp resident clown.


After sold out shows in 2016, the glamorous Parisian revue show CABARET DE PARIS will return to Brisbane for two shows only on Saturday September 9. The two shows will be the only for Australia this year.


Cabaret De Paris is a stage spectacular celebrating old-fashioned showgirl glamour combined with the skill of adagio dancers, aerial pole artistry, comedy circus performers, quick change performers, illusionists and of course the famous French Cancan Dancers! (please note: the 2pm show will be covered, while the 7.30pm show is topless)


Australian born and trained Marissa Burgess, the longest-serving performer in the Moulin Rouge‘s 120-year history, stars in show. The legendary showgirl, with a string of accolades to her name, became the toast of Paris and the subject of many French TV talk shows and a US documentary. Marissa will be joined by the crème de la crème of showgirls, with dancers who have graced the stages of Moulin Rouge, The Lido and other French cabaret revues also featuring in the 90-minute production.



The show features over a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of lavish costumes crafted in traditional Paris style, with feathers, sequins, rhinestones and jewels (some covering barely anything)!


Cabaret de Paris is choreographed by Todd Patrick, one of Australia’s dance leaders who began his formidable career with Disney, before working for Versace, Dior, Issey Miyaki, Gucci and Chanel, across Europe and Asia. As a dancer he worked internationally, one of the highlights being the principal in The Lido in Paris.


Additionally, acclaimed illusionist and Australia’s Got Talent finalist Michael Boyd will perform some of his greatest illusions, mind-boggling disappearances and magic. Two shows only at QPAC on Saturday September 9.




Other Women

Other Women

Brisbane Powerhouse with Charming Rebel & Wax Lyrical Productions

Brisbane Powerhouse Turbine Platform

November 25 & 25 and December 3 2016

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


Lizzie Moore’s latest show doesn’t quite match up with Joel Devereux’s slightly erotic and very inviting publicity image for it, but this bold cabaret makes a strong statement about the way we continue to view the women in our lives and the way we present ourselves, as women, to the world. Featuring a cast of circus, burlesque and musical theatre performers, Other Women asks the tough questions, and leaves us to come up with the answers we’d like our sons and daughters to hear. Are we going to keep putting every sort of woman in a box? Are we going to keep measuring every sort of woman by the same yardstick? Are we going to continue to laugh uncomfortably at the misogynist jokes and references our friends and family members and the media make rather than actually make changes to the language we use every day, and fuck off the cultural lies that keep women from just showing up and feeling genuinely confident to be who they want to be without shrinking or making themselves invisible or putting on an unsustainable OTT Wonder Woman act? Phew. DISCUSS.

We were all allowed to call ourselves feminists…as long as we were not pricks. We were allowed to have one but just not behave like one.

– Barry Stone

Who are the other women? Moore is joined on stage by circus dilettante Freyja Edney, burlesque darling Rosie Peaches and aerial artiste Eliza Dolly, with special guest vocalist Chloe-Rose Taylor, who also performs a contemporary dance. She brings Mad Men ordinary-housewife-and-mother gritted teeth to the story, along with the infuriating, smiling, winking sentiment of Wives and Lovers. That’s before I’m invited up to hold a placard that reads JUST A HOUSEWIFE, alongside other audience members self-consciously displaying STUD and SLUT and BOSS. These labels appear to be self-nominated since we came by them via an audience elimination survey, in my case, judging damning leaving with hands up, only those who chose to have children and stay at home with them for longer than 2 years.

But this is how quickly and casually we assess ourselves and each other.


Each individual in the Other Women lineup has her own skill set and distinct style, adding colour and texture, perspective and fierce energy to a show that could almost as easily do without all of it…and perhaps the original concept was just that. Moore could certainly carry this show on her own. But that’s not the show. That’s an entirely different show, and perhaps that’s worth exploring another time. Moore is such a strong, super sexy performer, she doesn’t need anyone but the band on stage. (And the three-piece band is fantastic… Bradley McCaw is actually everywhere again at the moment, isn’t he?!).

In February during MELT you can see Moore in her original one-woman show On a Night Like This: The Erin Minogue Experience

An engaging, entertaining storyteller, Moore minces and sizzles on stage and off, and sings up a storm of epic feminist street protest proportions. Her bold Man-Eater entrance through the audience sets the tone from the outset and The Other Woman offers a glimpse of the stripped-back, rather more raw Moore. In this show she’s a provocateur and she’s here to disrupt, but nicely. It seems she’s here to “misbehave with integrity” (Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes).

The show is strongly political – we can’t possibly miss the message (a Big Book of Misogyny segment spells it out in case you weren’t already paying close attention) – and if we don’t feel any more empowered than we did when we walked into Wonderland, at least (At Last), we feel uncomfortable enough to continue to challenge the status quo.


Finucane & Smith’s Glory Box: La Revolucion



Finucane & Smith’s Glory Box: La Revolucion

Brisbane Powerhouse Theatre

Brisbane Powerhouse

December 2 – 13 2015

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

If you’ve never seen Finucane & Smith’s work now is your chance. The highlight of this year’s Wonderland festival at Brisbane Powerhouse is their Glory Box: La Revolucion – direct from a sellout South American tour – a show you should see at least once in a lifetime. Cabaret, Burlesque and Performance Art clash in a mostly raucous, outrageous, radical new take on late night live entertainment…only it’s not new at all. What Finucane & Smith do so well is reinvent the variety show. Combining song, dance, striptease and a firm political stance throughout, this is a show that doesn’t shy away from the risqué aspects of life and art, which challenge us and keep us talking long after the event is over. It’s edgy and entertaining, with something for everyone.


In the fine tradition of RENT (Maureen’s Over The Moon) a strong political message is delivered from the metaphorical mountaintop in dramatic, elegant prose. Finucane is a superb storyteller, but not in the traditional sense. It’s not only her words that titillate and captivate but her gesture and her fluid, formidable posturing that builds all the layers of all the tales others fear to tell. In Finucane’s hands, the beautiful becomes grotesque and the grotesque is made exquisite. Finucane is fierce. She is, as she says she is, a work of art.

The show opens late, which is to be expected on opening night, is it not? The Brisbane Powerhouse is packed. We’ve come in from drinks in The Parlour, an intimate venue on the Performance Lawn for the Wonderland launch, a suitably civilised setting before experiencing the madness of Glory Box. Here we are treated to performances from two of the Vanguard Burlesque girls. Jacqueline Fury’s fan dance particularly, showcases the exquisite beauty and grace of the style, and her flair for it.

Finucane & Smith’s burlesque is slightly more… NEO. It’s a lot edgier and not at all trying to emulate the elegance of the old school style of “the tease”. It’s more confrontational and some of it might not be to everyone’s taste, but it dishes up a heap of sweet and sour that your traditional fan dance just doesn’t bring to the table.


There is a vague through line, about a woman who hates red. I mean, the woman really HATES red. What else then, but for Finucane to appear in a red lingerie set with strategically placed shiny red hearts, which are ripped from the bra and knickers to reveal the pointy ends of silver pins beneath. Now we see what will become of the hated red balloons. It’s a crazy, cute routine that ends with a bang!

There is serious preparation in the splash seats prior to Moira Finucane’s famous milk act. I’m in a catsuit and my favourite Salita Matthews’ piece. The performers are busily covering the punters in front with pink plastic wrap. This does not bode well. We started out in the tiered seats and moved closer to the catwalk during interval. I’d seen the act on screen but never live until now and it’s as shocking and stimulating and spectacular as I expect it to be.


“It’s milking time!”



Until it’s something you start to think about, there’s not a lot you can do with two 2 Litre bottles of milk but Finucane has discovered it all and the imagery she creates here too is simply astounding. In fact, the only real disappointment of the entire evening is the show’s duration (100 mins running time including interval), with the majority of the acts sitting neatly in the bit-too-long category. The songs, which are used nicely to transition from one rambunctious act to the next, are mostly on the wrong side of self-indulgent and despite the vocalists knowing how to beautifully sell each song and change the mood, not one can keep us completely captivated for each number’s duration.

The highlight of the night, because we need its lightness, is the (Literal) Total Eclipse of the Heart in the style of David Armand-does-Natalie-Imbruglia’s TORN. Azaria Universe brings the house down and steals the show with a masterclass in comic increments and audience manipulation. I’m genuinely surprised when no one leaps to their feet at the end of this masterful (completely OTT) performance.


Finucane & Smith defined the genre and raised the bar when they put The Burlesque Hour together. With so many numbers in the show, including spectacular aerial acts, thy must be hard pressed to leave anything out. However, if they did so they could have a shorter, sharper, more shocking and entertaining show, perhaps without an interval. Glory Box: La Revolution is as fabulous a night out as you’d expect at any festival, anywhere in the world and it’s right here in our own backyard until December 13.

Whatever your fetish, Finucane & Smith is the must-see of Wonderland 2015



win a double pass to finucane and smith’s glory box: la revolucion




Finucane and Smith’s Glory Box: la revolucion


Finucane and Smith come to us direct from Cuba, where the national newspaper noted, “these Australians show us there are no limits or boundaries in art”.


See for yourself when you win a double pass to tomorrow night’s show at 8pm. Be quick! Like our Facebook page and leave a comment on our wall or in the comments below, to let us know why you NEED to see this show.


Internationally renowned for their arresting mix of provocation and entertainment in performance works that both cherish and challenge their audiences, Finucane & Smith create intimate theatrical spectacles that mine old style entertainment genres and meld them into indelible visions of liberation, oppression, humanity, power and desire.


Arising from the fifteen year partnership of acclaimed volcanic performance artist and writer Moira FINUCANE and theatre creator and director Jackie SMITH, Finucane & Smith engage extraordinary artists and hijack myriad artforms to create intriguing, welcoming, complex and highly politicised ‘worlds’ for their audiences to occupy. Crossing hard core industrial with early opera, the literary gothic with burlesque, circus with drama, feminist performance art with sideshow, fine art with fine food, they celebrate the complexity and redemptive potential of humanity.


Finucane & Smith continue to have an undeniable influence at the cutting edge of political and populist performance; bringing profoundly underground work to mainstream audiences; consistently burning the envelope when it comes to what can be presented within an entertaining context; their work on the female body and desire is the subject of continued academic discourse; they are cited by cultural practitioners around the world as a source of inspiration; and they attract audiences that don’t even like theatre: “beats the f**k out of Friday night footy” (Geelong punter at the Burlesque Hour).


Like XS Entertainment on Facebook and tell us – either there or in the comments section here – why you need to see Finucane and Smith TOMORROW NIGHT




WONDERLAND season continues…


Love Box (Powerhouse Theatre)


Premium (table)$60*
Full (table)$54*
Concession (table)$47*
Groups (table 6 +)$47*
Stalls + Balcony (full)$39*
Stalls + Balcony (concession)$33*
*An additional fee applies to each booking transaction. Single tickets $3 / Multiple tickets $6.


Wed 02, Thu 03, Sun 06 + Sun 138pm
Fri 04, Sat 05 8.30pm
Fri 11 7pm
Sat 12 7pm + 9.30pm


(100 mins — includes interval)




Hot Brown Honey




Hot Brown Honey

Brisbane Festival & Briefs Factory

In Association with Judith Wright Centre

Judith Wright Centre Performance Space

September 16 – 26 2015


Reviewed by Amanda Murrell




After paying tribute to the traditional custodians of country, and deeply honouring ancestors and the great women who have come before us to light the path, the Honeys deliver radical anti-racist entertainment that smashes the alabaster pedestal of privilege and would have made old Aunty Judy Wright, whose namesake is the theatre in which they perform, very proud.




The show treats the crowd to the full effect of “Honey posse”, with more costume tear-aways than Ru Paul’s Drag Race and equal amounts of pride. From hip hop garb to cultural dress to work outfits, showcasing a dozen different flavours of glamour and varying degrees of undress, this production is a visual feast. But more than that, it’s a call for respect; from the first number, which incorporates the graceful shedding of the Union Jack to the Honeys’ final cavort through an appreciative audience.




Highlights include an ensemble dance number to a soundscape that uses excerpts from the savvy and insightful Unpacking the Knapsack of Privilege (Can I get a “hell yeah!?”), the full-tilt boogie Don’t Touch My Hair, Darwin’s Indigenous drag diva’s perfect impersonation of Peter Garret’s dance moves, beatbox songs of hope, and a chilling rope performance prefaced by a recording of a domestic violence call to emergency services.




The Honeys pull no punches in creating a strong, proud, perfectly executed performance that celebrates brown girl strength and breaks down ignorance.

As hard hitting as the show’s message is, the blows are soothed by humour, humility and the performers’ vulnerability. If you don’t catch their next shows, you’re too white for words.




HOT BROWN HONEY BURLESQUE taster from polytoxic on Vimeo.



Absinthe Tour le Monde – we chat with Ross Mollison, Gazillionaire, before opening night in Brisbane


Absinthe – a chat with Ross Mollison THE GAZILLIONAIRE






Absinthe sold out for 4 years in Las Vegas? What do people love about this show?

It’s hilarious. It’s intimate. The artists are super talented. It is unexpected. It’s the best show in Vegas. And they love the Gazillionaire.




Is there a narrative or is it hosted, circus style, by the Gazillionaire and his sidekick, Abby?

The Gaz created the show about a decade ago. He tries to keep the entire gig on the road despite the difficulty of keeping the sexiest group of artists alive from running off with billionaires.



What did you love about having the show in Vegas? What made it time to bring it to Australia?

Every year more and more people enjoy Absinthe in Vegas. We have had over 1million audience members already, and it continues to grow. I love producing in Australia as it allows me the opportunity to come home, and I thought after Empire, audiences would love the cutting edge style of circus which may offend, it may excite, but it never leaves anyone without an opinion. And ultimately, the Gaz wanted to go to Australia.



Tell us about your understanding and passion for vaudeville, burlesque, circus and cabaret.

It has been something I have loved since I was a little boy being taken to the Moscow Circus. I love the talent of the artists, the physicality, and I love ground breaking comedy. So what we do is stay true to the rules of great circus, burlesque and cabaret and produce something that is unique and will amaze the market.






Which is your favourite act?

Every act in Absinthe Tour le Monde is amazing. You have to love the Gaz – but you have to love every act.



How did you find the acts/artists? Do you hold auditions?

I travel to every corner of the world finding the best talent. I then invite them to meet with the Gazillionaire and he decides if they are good enough!



What’s the best preparation an artist can do to be ready for a show like Absinthe? What’s the best training they can do?

It is like being in a Grand Final winning football team. You have to train so hard to keep your spot in the team. They need to keep honing their craft to make their act better and better.



You will see the show evolves and gets better as time goes by.



What do you love about the Spiegeltent?

The Gaz told me that Marlene Diedrich performed in the Spiegeltent we are bringing to Brisbane. I love the history of it. The beauty of it. And I met my girlfriend in one – I fell in love having glanced at her in a mirror. Reflection is a great thing – it leads to love.




Why will Brisbane audiences love seeing Absinthe under the Spiegeltent?

You will never see another show like it. It will never come back to Brisbane as it is booked into a tour of Japan and the USA for the next 5 years – and it has the best acts and best comedy in the world today.






What will down time/time out look like for you in Brisbane?

The Gaz usually spends far more money than he makes going to nightclubs, restaurants and on other activity that invariably leads to problems. So – it may include posting bail, but hopefully he won’t be deported, as I would love to hit the great restaurants of Brisbane, of which there are so many.






Absinthe Tour le Monde under the Spiegeltent opens tomorrow night, Thursday June 4 for a strictly limited season in King George Square. Book online.





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