Showlesque: Burlesque and Cabaret in Brighton


Showlesque – its showtime!

Showlesque: The show is a seamless flow of recognisable themed songs, artistic style and sexy choreography, all featuring an immersive experience. Burlesque, Cabaret and Circus, it really does have it all.

I had seen some Social Media posts from a Brighton outfit called Showlesque, they were promising an evening of Burlesque, Cabaret, Music and Circus. My interest piqued with something new starting up in the city. Camera charged up, it was off to The Walrus in Ship Street.

Showlesque - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Veronica Blacklace  – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Veronica Blacklace

Veronica Blacklace is in charge tonight. She roams the seated audience for most of the evening. So when the “spotlight” finally finds her, she throws her head back and gives the audience some fantastically delivered songs. I have to say it is in an impeccably well timed and rehearsed routine. When she isn’t singing she, as I say, is looking for someone to talk to and partake in some fine and at time hilarious banter.

Showlesque - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Veronica Blacklace – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

This lady wants you, she wants your company and grabs you by the collar and holds on tight until she is finished with you, and the night is over.

Veronica has it, she is a a fireball of energy, and expertly evokes the spirit of Burlesque with some immaculately precise song and dance routines, with some hilarious interactions with her audience. Stopping only the once to do the splits, whilst still singing without dropping a note. Just fabulous.

The Show

Chances are if you’ve been anywhere in the UK in the past ten years or so, you may have witnessed  the resurgence of Burlesque, drawing upon classic performers like Dita Von Teese, to the smaller troupes who have popped up with residencies in smaller clubs and venues around the UK.

Aurora Starr

Showlesque: Veronica Blacklace - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Aurora Starr – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

First performer was the fabulous Aurora Starr. She wowed everyone with her mysterious cloaked persona which was discarded to reveal Aurora in her outfit as she worked her way through her set.

Showlesque: Aurora Starr - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Aurora Starr – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Aurora moved on to produce a couple of large swords which were swirled around her head and body as she went through her routine. Absolutely stunning to watch.

Showlesque: Aurora Starr - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Aurora Starr – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Purple Hayes

Showlesque Purple Hayes- photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Purple Hayes- photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

We were treated next to a fine performances from Purple Hayes. She was UK Aerial Champion 2017, World Championships Doubles place and World Championships Solo 2nd place. Astonishing to watch her carry out her routine with a small chair.

Showlesque - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Purple Hayes – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Nobody moved or made a sound as Purple Hayes worked through her routine.

Cherry Shakewell

Showlesque - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Cherry Shakewell – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

We were then treated to the first performance from the wonderful Cherry Shakewell. This was a superb display of what I mentioned earlier regarding a trip back in time, retro Burlesque.

Showlesque - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Cherry Shakewell – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

A display from Cherry with full length gloves, slowly removed and a huge feathered fan masterfully manipulated.

The mission of burlesque and groups such as Showlesque is, I think, to try to reclaim erotic cabaret from the commercial lap-dancing clubs and restore some of the style, theatricality and artistry of days gone by. And they have done just that.

Showlesque - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: The audience enjoying the show – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

The Walrus fitted those aims and that bygone atmosphere perfectly, offering up a sense of the past. All subdued lighting in the recently refurbished venue, stand alone tables and chairs and smaller booths surrounding the venue. Veronica welcomes everyone in and the audience make their way to their reserved seating.  Again, taking you back in time, the tables have glittering flags – when they are up it means you would like some food or drink. The fabulously attentive staff looked after everyone and I have to say some of the food I saw looked delicious and there were many empty plates.

A glimpse of the menu offered a great selection of starters, mains and sweets for all tastes and dietary preferences. A short break and the show restarted.

Showlesque - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Veronica Blacklace – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Veronica was back and she was taking no prisoners as she prowled amongst the tables. We also had a great song were Veronica invited guests to “talk dirty to me” – hilarious stuff. Great entertainment.

Showlesque - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Purple Hayes

Showlesque - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Purple Hayes – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Purple Hayes got the second session underway with a truly mesmerising display of dexterity, core strength and agility all topped off with a generous helping of grace. Hanging from the ceiling enclosed in a hoola hoop she performed a superb gymnastic display.

Cherry Shakewell

Showlesque: Cherry Shakewell - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Cherry Shakewell – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Cherry Shakewell was back for a second performance dressed reflecting maybe Barberella, but with way more glitter and light up wings! She walked through the audience and Cherry again teased the audience as clothes were removed and finally displaying light up tassels!

Showlesque - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Cherry Shakewell – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Cherry again led us through her routine, the seduction, the tease and the finale with her famous light up tassels. Superb Burlesque!

Burlesque requires a perfect mix and blend of flesh, mischief and mystery, and I have to congratulate Showlesque as they have produced just that. This is a special, unique night out!

Party Time!

Showlesque: Veronica Blacklace - photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

Showlesque: Veronica Blacklace – photo for Scene Sussex by Ian Bourn

The main show over and Veronica once again took charge.

The show is a seamless flow of recognisable themed songs, artistic style and sexy choreography, all featuring an immersive experience where each of the “Showlesque artists” dance and move freely about the audience, and sometimes they can be seen hanging from the ceiling, or clashing and swirling swords. They each displayed an extraordinary display of skills. “Don’t try this at home” warned Veronica.

Veronica Blacklace as I mentioned before has a talent for hospitality and hosting. With warmth and good humour she engaged with everyone. No one was made to feel awkward. She even grabbed my camera case as she sat astride a chair! She invited the audience to show their appreciation and the artists all received a well deserved round of applause. At the end of an evening of such delightful decadence, and wild entertainment, Veronica managed to tune up another song, she was inclusive, generous, and full of heart. This was evidenced as members of the audience got up and joined in for the final number.

A night I thoroughly recommend, and I wish the guys the very best of luck with this new night out in Brighton. There are several pricing options available so check out the Facebook page. If you want a night out of pure entertainment then you can catch Showlesque on these dates:
21st 28th Sept
12th 26th October
And all Saturdays in November

Showlesque are on Facebook

 

Please note all original images / video are copyright, please do not copy. If any of the featured artists/promoters/venues want copies of the images – or more if available – please just get in touch.

All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2019.

Got an event coming up? Need some gig photography, promo shots, previews or reviews? – please get in touch! See you down the front – come and say “hi!”

 

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