5 December, 2020

The Belles of Burlesque // InsideOutside Theatre Company

By Anina-Marie Warrener

After enduring a year of cancelled productions and reduced capacities, InsideOutside Theatre Company returns with their biggest production yet – The Belles of Burlesque. Written by Liam Donnelly and directed by Victoria Posner, this racy production showcases fifteen immensely talented performers.

The show features thirteen songs from musicals such as Six, Chicago, Rent, Cabaret, Moulin Rouge and Kinky Boots performed by a menagerie of unique burlesque artists curated by the infamous Don (Donatella) D’Bauch (Victoria Posner).

The staging of The Belles of Burlesque is quite simple. In a studio at The Old Museum, the audience enters a dark theatre. Tristan Holland’s lighting design creates a nightclub atmosphere on the three-tiered stage. A spotlight follows the performers throughout, and the occasional red or blue wash sets the mood. The musical arrangements by Wendy Bird are effective and the performers sing along to pre-recorded backing tracks that were created especially for the show.

Costumes designed by Victoria Posner feature staples of the burlesque genre such as fishnet stockings, corsets, lingerie, and suspenders. Rutger Gabor (Rhys Becks) struts the stage in a fabulous red tasselled dress and Charlotte Delphine (Maddy Bosanko) is ravishing in sequins.

From the moment the show opens with the unabashed and undeniably sexy Marcus Matthius (Matt Domingo) the audience is drawn into the world of the Belles. The show features immensely talented artists delivering some shockingly brave choreography with confidence, pride and an unashamed sexual energy that is intoxicating.

Some of the standouts of the night include the charm and seduction of Matt Domingo as Marcus Matthius in ‘What a Woman Wants’ (Kinky Boots) and ‘Bad Things’ (Jace Everett), the sassy vocals of Chloe Boike as Esther Neveu in ‘Out Tonight’ (Rent), the tremendously talented vocals of Tomer Dimanstein as Jackson Delaney in ‘El Tango De Raxanne’ (Moulin Rouge) and the infectious energy of Aidan Cobb as Cillian Cosgrove in ‘Sugar Daddy’ (Hedwig & The Angry Inch).

Rachel Matthews is phenomenal as Ilsa Roth in ‘Mein Herr’ (Cabaret). Maddy Bosanko’s vocals in ‘Big Bad Handsome Man’ is breathtaking and skilful. Rhys Becks as Rutger Gabor is an absolute delight in drag in ‘Sweet Transvestite’ (Rocky Horror Picture Show). Jo Badenhorst, Gillian Grace, Rhiannon Brown, Corey Rea, Rita Scarlett, Andy Cosier and Eleanor Crosse complete the world of the Belles with their marvellous dancing, singing, and acting.

The choreography by Rhiannon Brown and Leona McLearie is fun and the performers engage with the audience on several occasions. The crowd is often laughing out loud watching the performers have such fun particularly in ‘Sugar Daddy’, ‘Let It Go’ (The Full Monty) and ‘Patricia The Stripper’ (Chris de Burgh).

The Belles of Burlesque is a fun little show full of talented artists that is guaranteed to make the audience laugh, gasp and clap along. The performers are brave and confident in expressing their sexuality in such an entertaining way which really challenges the audience to explore their own sensual side.

The Belles of Burlesque performs at The Old Museum until 11 December. Tickets are on sale now – https://oldmuseum.sales.ticketsearch.com/sales/salesevent/1713