No la, la
On walking into the New Wimbledon Theatre, the lack of a programme or cast sheet for sale felt like a bad omen. And, on the whole, it was.
The small group of burlesque dancers on display (The Folly Mixtures) lacked sensuality and imagination and were really only going through the motions; after the first time you saw them waggle their boobs and bums about there was no real interest in seeing them do it again. And again.
Instead, An Evening of Burlesque was brought to life in the second half by others: firstly by knife-throwing escapologist AJ James’ gently risqué patter; secondly by Madame Galina: Ballet Star Galactica and his, sorry, her mean fouettés and fabulous line of bitchy put-downs; thirdly by the pissed-as-a-newt hula hoop girl whose genuinely astounding skills included keeping seven hoops on the go while picking up bottles from the floor; and finally by three blokes from the audience.
The first two of our paid-to-get-in saviours, Ian and Simon, were dragged from their seats to wrap AJ James up in chains. After they’d been egged on by the audience to get their tops off, Simon happily whipped his crumpled old polo shirt off before you could shout ‘no, please don’t’ and hurled it wantonly into the baying crowd. Demure office-worker Ian, however, chose to genteelly hang his jacket and scarf on a piece of fixture at the front of the stage to reveal he was wearing a vest. Comedy gold which left the audience roaring.
The night’s other hero was Ben the Doorman who’d been hauled up to take part in auditions for Madame Galina’s live performance of the Scarf pas de deux from La Bayadère (regular partner Ivan Vasiliev had been detained at the airport). Deadpan Ben was the perfect foil for Galina’s delicious barbs and jibes – a double act must surely follow soon.
The show ‘climaxed’ with The Folly Mixtures waggling their boobs and bums about again. Then we went home.