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September 19, 2011 | by  | in Arts Theatre |
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Monstrously Enjoyable

Encased in the plush, red upholstery of an armchair in the cavernous chamber of Paramount Theatre, its walls kissed by vines of light and lined by masked sentries, I sip a drink and watch two dancers clad in rooster costumes thwack each other with their foot-long phalluses.

Who knew a cockfight could be so delightfully entertaining? Earlier in the evening, as I entered the Paramount to experience the treat that is Monster Burlesque and ascended the stairs amidst fairy lights and music, I felt that I was walking into a darker and infinitely sexier world than the one I’d left on Courtenay Place.

The atmosphere of the colourfully costumed crowd in the foyer was one of playful anticipation and in my immediate vicinity I spotted a pig, a horse and a rather intimidating green headdress which made me wish I’d donned something a bit more daring than beige heels. Fanciforia Foxglove, a rising star in the world of burlesque with a hip-to-waist ratio that is assured to make your head spin, greeted and entertained me and my partner before ushering us to our seats. A hush crept through the audience and our MC (Gene Alexander) warned us in silken, sultry tones that what we were about to see would arouse and amaze us. The truth of this claim, as the roosters leave the stage to thunderous applause, is apparent. Although the cinema screen, hidden by a black backdrop, prevents the acts from playing the depth of the stage and there is little in the way of set, this does not detract from the incredible talent and sumptuous costumes on display. Billed as a “late night variety show with fur and teeth”, variety is exactly what we are presented with; from Maria Dabrowska’s incredible contemporary dance routine and an intensely creepy gag about a little girl (Tanya Drewery) and a chicken, which had me gagging a little myself, to the more traditional burlesque of the outrageously divine Venus Starr and Vaune Mason, the performers captivate us with their energy and wonderful showmanship. I hope that Wellington is lucky enough to be graced by such joyous romps more often.

Monster Burlesque
8 – 17 September at Paramount Theatre

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