High Tease

SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

10/04/2010 - 10/04/2010

Production Details

High Tease is a one-night only burlesque spectacular featuring New Zealand’s premier talent. Including: Virtuoso of vintage glamour, Leda Petit. Circus siren, Venus Star, sure to wow you with her skill. Intriguing fetishist, The Magenta Diamond. Honey L’Amour, singing sensation and blonde bombshell. And Miss La Vida, the queen of parody. Presented by the irresistable Ebon Grayman of Cirque du Soliel’s “Alegria”.
The show promises to be a visual feast full of fun, tease and gorgeousness. There’ll be whips, water- baths, silks, champagne, ostrich fans, parasols, hula hoops, contortion, ballet, singing, comedy and of course lots of disrobing by our bevvy of fabulous beauties. Video footage will complement the pastiche of performances making up the two hour extravaganza,which will showcase the principal genres of burlesque.
This show is not to be missed. Seldom do such noteworthy and stunning performers appear together. You’ll be titillated, delighted and thoroughly entertained and left basking in the glory that is the wonderful world of burlesque.

Adults Only
Saturday 10 April

Bookings: www.ticketek.com    

All sugared out

Review by Megan Smith 14th Apr 2010

I feel compelled to start this review in a rather pedantic and unfashionably sober manner, by providing you with a couple of relevant definitions:
burlesque  n. a mocking imitation, parody
tease v. 1 try to provoke in a playful or unkind way.
Ok, now that’s over with, take a sip of your “High Tease” cocktail and let’s enjoy the show….
Picture if you will, buzzing audience members arriving group by group as an enthusiastic splurge of feathers, red lips and burlesque fancy dress. They appear certain of what the night has in store for them and indeed, throughout the show they are a very discerning, if not overtly generous gaggle. Perhaps Mr Vodka, the show’s sponsor, also lends a helping and somewhat complimentary hand to the audience’s vocal frivolity.
Black and white footage of a historic blonde burlesque dancer is a nice touch, as the audience spills into the theatre, its bold nudity setting a saucy pre-show tone. Cue the handsome often half naked host, Ebon Grayman of Cirque du Soileil fame, who is generous, raw and sexy, if not a little distracting. But perhaps, that is exactly the point. His opening silhouette strip, and his lap dance with a female audience member later on in the evening, combine his obvious theatrical experience with his cheeky personality thus cementing his appeal with the female fans in the audience.
Because of the evening’s format, each performer revealing themselves one by one, presenting two burlesque acts each in total, I have to resist my impulse to compare acts or, in a rather undiplomatic fashion, pick a favourite. However I feel duty-bound to reveal in a very gossip column way, that some ae clearly more successful than others in swaying my vote. From the audience reaction it seems they felt the same way.
Blonde Pop Princess, Venus Star, does indeed live up to her flyer log line: “Circus Siren…sure to wow you with her skill”, proving circus clichés need not apply to her perky hula hooping and tissue acts, which are more cheeky, sexy and incredibly 1950s pin-up girl than any circus act I have ever seen. But yes of course this is the art of Burlesque. 
Venus Star establishes her prowess further with her second tissue act evoking for me imagery of Las Vegas, hip shaking Shakira, European discothèque, pop icon Pink and Moulin Rouge. She provides imitations galore with her own confident twist and a touch of artistic class.
Highlights for me are the sublime images reminiscent of Old Hollywood glamour, Dita VonTeese, the days of politically incorrect furs and diamonds that the delightful Leda Petit bestowes upon her audience. She is a virtuoso of vintage glamour indeed, gliding effortlessly and elegantly around stage in sky high heels.
Whilst for the majority of the other acts the stage remains uncomfortably bare, Miss Petit transformes it with her selection of vintage props: a large champagne glass, a cast iron chair, a white claw foot bathtub. The transformation is more aptly provided though by the delivery of her performance and persona.
At times I feel like she transports us to her gentleman friend’s Parisian apartment or perhaps her own vintage inspired boudoir, making her audience feel a touch voyeuristic and naughty for witnessing such an intimate undress, and taking such delight in doing so.
Her ostrich feather moments are exquisitely gorgeous and I find myself surprisingly disappointed when I notice she is not naked underneath the shiny black feathers, but rather teasingly wearing the slightest of silver sparkling undergarments instead. 
However opening act, Honey L’Armour, who up until now I have been hesitant to mention, seems to miss the mark for me. Her ballet inspired second act causes a stirring and at times laughter in the audience, but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.
All of the elements are there, particularly in her first act where she sings the Marilyn Monroe classic ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’: the long satin gloves, the corset, her pin curl blonde hair-do, her sauntering walk. So it seems to me her awkward and at times meek delivery lets her down, particularly amongst such a unique and raunchy line up. Perhaps she is meant to be charmingly self-conscious in which case I completely do miss the mark.
I adore the ‘Addicted to Love’ Robert Palmer parody cheekily delivered by Miss La Vida and having been an eighties child myself, I can appreciate the yoga mat, legwarmers, headband and pink dynaband as fantastically cliché eighties nuances. There is no doubt this act is funny, as was her first, but her sizzle and expression is lost in such a large venue which is a shame because I feel there is a lot more sizzle under that high cut leotard Miss La Vida!
Magenta Diamond sparkles in her second act as the double whip whirling dominatrix. At one point in her act when she cracks her whip and beckons with a curled finger to side of stage, I half expect a white stallion come cantering out. I have to rein my imagination in long enough to see her spank the host with a mini black whip and to cringe as she puts a metal rod through her nose. Well at least I think it’s a metal rod, I am cowering on my chair at that point. Her flair for shock tactics makes Magenta’s performance edgy and tinged with fetish connotations.
There are enough slices of comedy, titillation, parody, glamour and tease to leave me feeling full and with so much packed into the two hour burlesque extravaganza I, as my partner in burlesque crime so eloquently puts it, am all “sugared out” by curtain call. 
Would I go to experience another show by Miss Chief Events? Most certainly I would, perhaps next time I would join the masses in a wee burlesque inspired ensemble. Just for fun.  A last request though: a more intimate setting, for a far richer taste of Miss Chief Events burlesque delights. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


Rachel April 15th, 2010

I agree with your comment about intimacy of venue, but I would like to point out that in comparison to the last Miss Chief Events burlesque show I attended at the Auckland Town Hall (which featured international burlesque star Angie Pontani), the SkyCity Theatre was a vast improvement.  Smaller events at Cassette9 sometimes suffer from a lack of audience space and performance space.  I think the best burlesque venues I have experienced are The Classic and Pony Club, where the audience are seated in table groups - having a bottle of champagne at the table definitely adds to the evenings experience!  And of course you get to feel more a part of the show - be it a splash of champagne from Miss Leda Petit or a sprinkling of glitter.  But I appreciate that these venues limit audience size and performance scope (especially whips and aerial silks!).

I and the rest of my party had a fabulous night on Saturday - we look forward to more!!!!

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