Monster Burlesque

Paramount, Wellington

08/09/2011 - 17/09/2011

Production Details

Imagine: Rocky Horror meets Baron von Münchausen and gets wrapped in a cloak of Cirque du Soleil…

The result?

Gravity-defying stunts, glorious imagery, music, trickery and sensuous comedy — this is Monster Burlesque.

A late-night burlesque variety show unlike anything seen in New Zealand before.

From the moment the audience walks through the doors of Wellington’s historic Paramount Theatre, they’ll find themselves immersed in another world — swept up in a carnivalesque playground. With ticket in hand, like a fantastical backstage pass, they’ll head for their seats and enter the surreal and spectacular world of Monster Burlesque.

For 75 minutes they’ll be presented with an eclectic blend of dance, comedy, theatre, circus and music combined with a kaleidoscope of sumptuous costumes. Inside the theatre, full-sized fluffy monsters will take to the stage in colourful furs to perform Bollywood dance, hip hop, monster raps and martial arts tricking. Sparkling fighting roosters will grace the stage, along with operatic arias, bloody beauties and elegant dancers in gorgeous tui costumes. Last but not least, jazz-dancing werewolves will perform thrilling aerial circus feats.

Monster Burlesque will be a spectacle not easily forgotten. The audience will take this unique experience home with them feeling enriched, entertained and utterly delighted.

8, 9, 10 Sept & 15, 16, 17 Sept 10:30pm
Paramount Theatre, 25 Courtenay Place, Wellington

Cost: $46 / $36 CONTACTS:    

Mary Laine, Producer     021-292-8050           
Brianne Kerr, Publicist   021-165-5784

Featuring: Tanya Drewery as The Magenta Diamond, Vaune Mason as The Avian Belle, Venus Starr, Maria Dabrowska, Emma Phillips and Will Barling. 

75 mins

Outrageously silly, often thought-provoking and sometimes sexy

Review by Greer Robertson 09th Sep 2011

On a chilly night, the bustier-bedecked and often scantily clad performers strut their stuff, grateful for the warmth of laughter and applause from the patrons in attendance. As people scurry inside out of the cutting Wellington wind and maybe a rather dull life, they are immediately transported into a different world – one that holds them suspended for a brief moment in time amongst a vibrant air of coquettish expectancy, titillating excitement and adult humour.
Looking about in the theatre foyer it is hard to know who is who.   Such colour, such  oddity!  Is that a performer merely meandering in costume; a member of the audience who fancied dressing up to honour the occasion; or an artists’ friend who has been cajoled into wearing something outrageous to help create an atmosphere? Whatever category they belong to, they certainly add to the ambience and anticipation of a fun evening.
Once inside, a fusion of contemporary dance, circus, visual art, musical theatre, burlesque and comedy explode onto the small stage as testimony to the creators’ overactive imaginations.
Whatever were they thinking? Maybe they even jokingly wonder that themselves?
Outrageously silly, often thought-provoking and sometimes sexy, the performers give their all with a strong thread of commitment and passion in everything they do. From the incredibly experienced talented female comic to the immensely demonstrative acclaimed contemporary dance soloist, there is something for everyone. Equally present are the lesser experienced, but their personal performance journeys don’t come across as any less important. They all have a good time.
Creative ideas flourish,  with production details being sometimes overlooked.  Overall, perhaps this was not the right venue to bring together such an assortment of skills.  With ample support provided by a number of generous sponsors, one would have thought that a bigger performance space could have been commandeered to showcase their diversity.
Halfway through the programme, many in the audience are mildly perplexed as they discover that the aerial tissu artists are swinging only just above their heads. Being at such close range undoubtedly adds an element of danger for all as the circus performers split and twirl with gay abandonment, but being so close also shows off every small detail where some might be better left to the imagination.
Vignettes of different flavours and styles come and go, and larger than life body parts burst forth. The majority laugh and enjoy the silliness.
Beautifully coutured and much admired, the gorgeous garments are the highlight thanks to the exquisite design and needlework of Cathy Tree Harris and Vaune Mason.  With tossing tassels, glitter, cross dressing and a lot of undressing, garments regularly flutter to the floor. Some are absolutely stunning, and the furry monster creations add yet another bizarre level to the evening.
A balance of expertise, production and talent? Who cares? It was a fun interlude in another world or for some of us, maybe not?

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