Sexy Circus Sideshow

As part of the London Burlesque Week, The Sexy Circus Sideshow concentrated on those exotic acts that connect the burlesque revival with the dark arts of the freak show

Article by Gareth K Vile | 30 Apr 2010
  • Chas and Beeby

As part of the London Burlesque Week, The Sexy Circus Sideshow concentrated on those exotic acts that connect the burlesque revival with the dark arts of the freak show. Between clown and Pierrot routines, and a charming lady with her beard in quite the wrong place, Armitage Shanks hosted a cornucopia of oddities and aerial beauties.

The delectable Roxy Velvet begins proceedings, lifting her baroque sensuality far above the heads of the audience. Combining a delicate aesthetic with the skills of a trapeze artist, Roxy announces that this Sideshow will not be a predictable stroll through burlesque cliche, but parade performers both glamorous and surreal. Following the arrival of  the Elephant Woman and classic vaudeville slapstick courtesy of Punch Drunk the Soothsayer, the show soon settles into a parade of engaging, experimental cabaret.

Barcelona's Melitta Honeycup opens the second act, aloft on a hoop and executing elegant enchainment. The traditional, and rather crass, association of burlesque with striptease is firmly demolished. The arrival of the Irrepressible Mr Flay – dangerously assisted by an alcoholically fuelled Punch Drunk – conjures memories of a Britain once great and imperial, as they execute the fakir's favourite bullet trick.

Armitage Shanks, having hit his stride in papal regalia and a show-stopping number celebrating the painful death of heretics, links the routines with a rolling patter of the experienced carny, leading us from the orientalist exotic of Cat Aclysmic's Bearded Lady – guaranteed to strip any facial hair within one hundred yards – to the painful delights of Missy Macabre. A bed of nails, a carpet of glass: Macabre entices with a showgirl aura and a Live Artist's confrontational attitude.

Beeby Rose rounded off the evening with a classic burlesque, reconnecting the sideshow to the glitzier appeal of cabaret, before Shanks led the audience and cast through a rousing singalong. A long way from the gala opening, or the star-studded finale, the Sexy Circus Sideshow splashes around in the waters of cabaret, burlesque, fetish art and freak-show, demonstrating the flexibility of bodies and genres.

http://londonburlesquefest.com/