I recently enjoyed an evening at Lady Alex’ Wam Bam Club at the Bloomsbury Ballroom in London, and while there was nothing ground breaking or exceptional in terms of burlesque, it was a well executed, energetic and feel-good show.
Lady Alex leads proceedings with poise and authority, without dominating the limelight too much as some lead performers can do. She has my respect for her selection of varied and high quality guest performers, and management of her chorus.
The group numbers were generally slick and performed with energy and commitment, playing on some classic clichés: horny office workers, Marie Antoinette, and so on. I appreciated the fact that there were both male and female performers, providing eye candy for everyone.
Craig ‘The Incredible Hula Boy’ was easily the most crowd-pleasing, standout act and received the most enthusiastic response. His combination of incredible control and charisma is fantastic, and I always marvel at his ‘human slinky’ finale.
Vocal harmony hunks Scales of the Unexpected were delightful. They have clearly put a lot of work into the arrangement and delivery of a barrage of one-hit wonders and ‘literal choreography’. I remembered cheesy classics I had forgotten all about; it was a highly enjoyable trip down memory lane.
I first saw the taptastic, coke-stuffed duo Up and Over It last year when they appeared as the variety interval act at Forever Crazy in London. Two of my companions raised questions of taste, believing their routine glamorised or made light of domestic violence, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable. There was equality between them; it was all about their skill and creating a suitably manic setting, in my mind. I found it equally impressive and entertaining second time around.
Bunny Galore was in strong voice with plenty of personality, but her segments generally felt like time filler or transitional intervals. Perhaps some more developed comedy material, which she may well have, would have made her contribution feel more substantial.
And so to the striptease portion of the evening, which was delivered by Ruby Deshabille and Scarlett Belle. I found Ruby’s fan dance a little underwhelming and lacking the exceptional level of dexterity and close concealment I have seen elsewhere. It was pretty, and her second performance was stronger, but I felt it lacked some vigour and purpose. I found Scarlett Belle more engaging on the whole, but again, her performance didn’t deliver anything particularly original or memorable. The audience seemed pleased and happy with what they saw; as a light introduction to striptease, in keeping with the overall mood and pace of the show, it was successful.
Wam Bam Club provides glamour, humour and variety in a gorgeous venue, with a likeable and attentive team onstage and front of house. With different guest performers each time and a party atmosphere that continues once the show ends, it’s a production you can repeatedly enjoy.
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.