Event Review: Miss Burlesque Australia 2013 – Athenaeum Theatre (25.05.13)

Burlesque – when you hear the word, what does it conjure up in your mind? Perhaps twirling dancers, lace outfits, stunning costumes? Or maybe nipple tassels, whips and leather? No matter where your mind wanders, tonight’s Miss Burlesque Australia 2013 will cover all areas – and whilst we personally have been getting over the hot summer and slowly watching the leaves turn from green to orange on the trees, the best Burlesques around our nation have been participating in the Miss Burlesque state heats.

This narrows the competition down to seven finalists from around the country to show us their talent tonight, to battle it out for the coveted title of Miss Burlesque Australia 2013, as the crown will be handed over by last year’s winner, New South Wales beauty, Briana Bluebell.

For the second consecutive year, six male finalists will vie for the Mr Boylesque title tonight, taking the reins over from the inaugural winner, Raven aka The Black Prince of Burlesque Underground.

Labelled as one of the best burlesque competitions around, tonight is a display of dazzling costumes, storytelling, inspiring glamour, eye candy and music. Tonight we are stimulated by glorious gowns from around Australia full of sequins, Swarovski crystals, feathers, fans and more – all to outshine each other.

The performers tonight are judged by a panel of peers and industry experts, based upon a set criterion that includes elements of presentation, confidence, and personality, the flow of the routine, storyline, costume, music and relevance to the era. The winner of Miss Burlesque Australia 2013 will receive over $10,000 in cash, prizes and sponsorship.

When I spoke to the co-founder of Miss Burlesque, Dolores Daiquiri, she told me that anyone interested in Burlesque must research the art before jumping in and thinking they can be a performer. “It can be hard to master and takes years of dedication and determination and make sure you do it for the right reasons and not just because it’s the ‘in’ thing to do”.

Tonight, when arriving at The Athenaeum Theatre I was greeted by a crowd with many wannabees and supporters of Burlesque and the attire of the evening was definitely to outshine each other and the punters did exactly that. From fancy hair do’s to green glitter heels, I found myself constantly gazing at frocks, gowns and bling until it was time to go in.

Whilst settling in my seat I found myself having another sticky-beak as people brought in bottles of champagne and found their seats. The room has old fashioned music pouring out from the speakers as perfume fills the air, punters wearing fascinators and corsets, lace, and red velvet outfits leaving tattoos uncovered.  I chose to ignore the men wearing flannies, yes there were a few.

A late start to the show but the lights dimmed and on stage came out a stunning red head, Rita Fontaine to start the night, she was the winner back in 2010, and she gave us a glitzy and confident performance to start with and also as our MC for the night. She delighted and disgusted me in her costume changes, a talking iguana, humour as well as eating glitter and fake nails (ewww) that were left overs found on the floor. I am fascinated watching her.

After introducing the girls the night went straight into the Mr Boylesque part of the night, in their best black leather, fishnets and heels. Each state was a representative and for me, Victoria was the best. He bedazzled me with the song Black Betty and his gusto cowboy look. He wasn’t your average looking Boylesque but I loved him nonetheless even with his g-string!

The other performers were more Boylesque in the sense of heels, tight leather, chains, glitter and stature and I’d better not forget the type of costume one can make with black garbage bags, wow! The South Australian chose some fantastic music like Gin Wagmore, Kylie and Madonna whilst the Western Australian wove his way into his red ball  (literally) until he was just wearing the g-string and to see his head peeking out from inside the ball was very clever. All boys dazzled the stage and showed us originality and inspiration.

Straight into the Miss Burlesque performances where the journey was created through feminine dance, evocative discarding of gloves and fans and where colours were beautiful – green, flower imagination, feathers, red suspenders and great bodies. All girls ended the performance showing us their nipple tassels, some displaying amazing twirls with those tassels. When I spoke with Delores I was told there are a variety of ways these stay on, whether it is double sided tape, body safe glue and even double sided carpet tape. I’m told imagination comes into play a fair bit when considering tassels and staying on for appeal. The first entree of the night was simple yet effective, all seven artists performing and indulging us in art and skill with determination and plenty of crowd building. But the main course was more of a theatrical display, showcasing talent and some great stage designs with the sex educator, genie audition, fairy, diamond thief, a couple, an aquarium, and a fantastic skull and heart design.

After each performance, Rita entertains us with her disgusting humour and yes I cackled as behind her one would hear the sound of the vacuum cleaning the glitter and bling away joined with the purring from the audience aimed at the girls collecting all the belongings of the performers that had been discarded on the floor.

Whilst the judges finish the rounds adding up scores we are given live performances by last years winner’s of both Boylesque and Burlesque. Raven performs a dazzling sequence with amazing eyelashes which is his signature and Briana Bluebell shows us just how she won that title in 2012. All tonight’s performers are brought out on stage and various titles are given out to most girls but the big winner is from Queensland – The Strawberry Siren, and her performance’s were amazing. Her entree was to be reborn from a rose, and the second performance of tonight as a fairy performing acrobatics to our delight. The Mr Boylesque winner is Prince Enigma and I can tell you, watching glitter sprout from his groin is something I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Overall the night is a fantastic display of talent showcasing hard work, plenty of laughter and amazing achievements along the way, I daresay some of these performers have sniffed a lot of glitter that has probably bedazzling many toilet bowls!

Bring on Gorelesque next I say, can you picture that kind of a performance?!

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