Veronica Blacklace is the resplendent ringmistress of a cabaret gem at Brighton Fringe 2015.[wp-review]
Cabaret Boheme, holding court in a mid-size Spiegeltent at Brighton Fringe 2015, promised “an unforgettable evening … with all the skill, charm and cheek you could want”, and local heroine Veronica Blacklace and her colourful cast came through in fine style.
Blacklace – Brighton’s answer to Alannah Myles – is an earthy, conversational hostess; cheeky but just short of profane. A good time girl-next-door if you will, albeit covered in rhinestones and striding about in a cut out sequin bodysuit. When she’s not indulging in a selfie session on an audience member’s phone or threatening to run the show into the early hours with her charming but limitless supply of banter, her powerful, soulful voice does all the talking. As well as several smouldering solos, she delivers some classy duets with fellow crooner Chris Hyde as guest acts perform, creating fully fleshed production numbers as a cooperative cast. Hyde’s voice is strong and clean, but he can’t match the charisma and presence of his vivacious co-singer.
Hoop wrangler extraordinaire Chi Chi Revolver’s first routine is somewhat brief and predictable, adding hoop after hoop with a slinky finale. The second routine is a star turn, however: a fast and furious strip and flip with a programmed light-up super hoop, blinking pasties and flashing panties, backed up by two Cabaret Rouge dancers.
Cabaret Rouge duo Jade and Katie show versatility in a number of dance routines, including a tango inspired duet to a dramatic live vocal performance of Roxanne, military fetish with a pulsing techno soundtrack, and a classic showgirl parade. They are pretty, poised and polished, if a little too restrained and strictly choreographed at times, with some routines feeling overlong.
Boylesquer Sigmund Droyd is a trippy, cymbal-bashing punk monkey in the first half, fully committed to his grubby persona. His second piece is far less cohesive and focused without a solid concept; a bizarre alien number consisting of balloon antennae and not much else.
Sasha Flexy is a captivating seductress in a sensual, athletic aerial hoop routine made all the more spellbinding by Chris and Veronica’s accompanying duet, a haunting version of Beyonce’s Crazy in Love. Her every move is achingly slow and deliberate, holding beautiful positions and allowing us to drink her in. Her climactic duet with the handsome and muscular Hauk Pattison on Chinese Pole conveys a thrilling, intense chemistry; their beautiful symmetry, using each other’s strength and weight to perform increasingly impressive manoeuvres, is dazzling foreplay above our heads.
Overall, Cabaret Boheme is an engrossing, diverse spectacle of skill, sensuality and soul; a cast of distinctive, successful performers working as an entwined theatrical family to create something original and highly entertaining. Veronica Blacklace is the resplendent ringmistress of a cabaret gem.
For more information and upcoming dates, visit www.labordelloboheme.com
Quoted in major international newspapers and held in high esteem and affection by the international burlesque community, 21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene since 2007. Founded and edited by Holli-Mae Johnson.