On Friday, August 15th, Kitty Bang Bang and partner Bioux Lee Hayes brought the mischief and mayhem of Boom and Bang Circus to The Roundhouse in Camden (London, UK), which took them from their residency in the intimate cabaret lounge at the Hippodrome Casino to a significantly larger playground for one spectacular night.
Playing to a packed, sold out house, British burlesque powerhouse Kitty Bang Bang was joined on stage by a first rate cast of circus and cabaret specialists, with Bioux and his guitar also making a brief appearance as the show drew to a close, accompanying host Jonny Woo during a final song.
Kitty Bang Bang spoke to 21st Century Burlesque Magazine this week about the Roundhouse production. “When The Roundhouse approached us to be part of their Summer Sessions season we were very flattered, but I was vaguely terrified! The Roundhouse is such a monumental space and it has so much history. The Doors, The Sex Pistols and The Clash have all rocked that stage and I found the whole idea quite daunting. But obviously it was an offer that we couldn’t say no to.”
Despite the difficulties posed by the timing of this fantastic opportunity for their show, Kitty was pleased with how everything eventually came together. “In hindsight, I’d never put on another big show during the month of August because most of our cast were at the Edinburgh Fringe and just travelled back for the show, which made rehearsals quite difficult! But I love the cast that we work with and I think everybody pulled together. Besides, Boom and Bang Circus has always had that slightly anarchic, anything-could-happen edge. It kept me on my toes!”
Feats of strength, poise and balance were delivered by Felipe Reyes and Valerie Murzak, with Reyes climbing ever higher as his hand-balancing act built to a climax, and Murzak rotating and contorting gracefully on a huge glitter ball to Donna Summer’s I Feel Love.
Irresistibly cute and whimsical as she tiptoed through the audience and across the stage, clown extraordinaire Dott Cotton treated us to an altogether more unsettling solo when she took her turn centre-stage. Cyr wheel master Jo Moss was a leering, maniacal presence, turning what could have been a skilful demonstration of his apparatus into a distinctive and sinister character piece which completely transformed the atmosphere and demanded our attention.
As prima ballerina Madame Galina, Iestyn Edwards stole the show in the second half with an outstanding comedic routine, involving hilarious audience participation and receiving rapturous applause. Boylesquer Phil InGud was, as always, a solid and engaging contributor, delivering an absurd, coke-spluttering duet with Kitty Bang Bang. Katharine Arnold took to the air with grace and agility on her aerial silks, and host Jonny Woo held it all together with songs and silliness.
And, of course, no Boom and Bang spectacular would be complete without fire-breathing, chopper-riding, roller-skating liability Kitty Bang Bang, who closed the show by riding onstage on a mini motorbike and showing off a range of fire tricks, before signing off with her usual fire tassel finale.
Kitty and Bioux are still enjoying the high after the success of their sell-out Roundhouse show. “I was so happy that we sold out and The Roundhouse even had to open up an extra section for people that just turned up wanting tickets,” said Kitty. “After a couple of days in bed, we’re talking about ways to make the next show bigger, better and trashier.”
Burlesque Hall of Fame / Miss Exotic World Judge, 2011 Holli Mae Johnson is the founder and editor of 21st Century Burlesque Magazine, a pioneering publication created twelve years ago to unite, document and celebrate the global burlesque community. Holli is actively involved in the burlesque community on a day to day basis and is privately consulted by performers and producers at every level for promotion, critique, recommendations and encouragement. As a documenter and critic, she has seen countless burlesque and variety performances from across the world and provides an intimate perspective and insight into the lives and careers of burlesque’s greatest pioneers, performers and personalities.