Circus Theatre (for Fringe Festival)
Friday, February 17, 2017
The premise of Burlesque Beats sounded intriguing. It delivered over and above all expectations in a sexy, sensual, booty popping good-time blend of rap, hip hop, burlesque, funk and soul, with plenty of laughs thrown in as a tasty side dish. Picture, if you will, buxom burlesque babes writhing rhythmically to hip hop beats with a rapper onstage beside them and some beautifully bedazzled soul crooners as backing. Quite an image there, huh? Understandably, it completely blew the audience away.
Featuring Perth’s favourite sons Optamus and Dazastah of Downsyde, and hosted by the rivetingly charismatic Macshane, the beats were a fierce backing to the soulful local Motown duo, The Merindas. Drawing the audience into an exuberant singalong of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” early in the game, we were all in and begging for more. Add a little more audience participation, plus a very entertaining twerk off, and we were prepped and primed for our introduction to the producer of the show, Kenjai.
Winner of Fringe Festival’s Burlesque Idol WA 2016, Kenjai Goddess of the Heavenly Booty (her official title, and completely deserved) brought her A-game in a stunning, classic baby pink number that was slowly shimmied away to reveal the reason for her title. Heavenly indeed. That booty has its own gravitational pull. Spellbinding, fluid moves drew us into her Rapunzelicious fairy tale as we were all entranced by the wiggling tail before us. Later in the show, we were treated to more of Kenjai, in a heavenly deep blues number backed by The Merindas. Kenjai is a feast for the eyes.
Not to be outdone, Victorian import Bettie Bombshell slammed onto stage with deadly moves in some seriously stunning costumes and more carnal, bootylicious beauty. This woman is enthralling to watch and the audience weren’t shying their gazes away from open admiration and rapturous applause. Her tassel twirling is next level, her form is nothing short of old-school burlesque perfection. Juxtaposing this against hip hop is some artistic genius by Kenjai.
Macshane’s freestyle rapping was another huge hit. After asking for the audience to throw some phrases at him, then requesting items in handbags and on persons to be brandished, he selected some and incorporated the words into a surprising flow that was poetry in motion.
Fringe favourites Kitten N’ Lou (I’ve raved about them before, and won’t stop here) never fail to captivate the audience with their consistently mesmerising, trademarked mix of erotic eccentricity. The brand is strong and fierce. It won’t be stopped, and here’s to them moving from the title of top four burlesque performers in the world to complete world domination at number one. They’ve earned it.
What a way to end Fringe. Seriously. Blew our hair back and left us gagging for more from the Beats crew.