A bright white spotlight roamed the crowd. The lush red curtain hung over the stage framed by a classic gold border. Artwork oozing with the burlesque ordained the walls of the venue. The Roxy Revue Bar looked like it was drawn straight from Baz Lurhmann’s imagination and despite a slightly empty bar area the place had an unexpected class and sophistication.
But then the show opened with an atrocious narrator informing the audience of the Pussycat Dolls rise to fame. The voice embodied all that I despise in bureaucratic mechanical banter but luckily the girls were there to save the day. They wasted no time in stretching their legs above their heads and shaking all that their mommas gave them. With skanky strutting and cheeky tableaux and some massive singing, they hit the Pussycat Dolls’ nail on the head, and I revelled in every second.
The show was accompanied by phantasmagorical lighting, any young girl’s music video fantasy, to enhance the catchy choreography. The dancers’ bodies were present at every moment, though to my mind there were a few moves that were repeated too often and overall they could have benefitted from a little subtlety. But then again, this is the Pussycat Dolls, a group born on the over-exaggerated burlesque-style performance. And once one realises that the kitsch and the commercial is exactly what this show is celebrating, then the experience takes flight.
I was especially impressed at the power of the lead singer’s voice. Through all the booty shaking and leg swinging she still managed to belt out the big notes. There were a couple of moments when her voice sounded strained or tired but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with subtle changes in pacing.
Minor disturbances, like the occasional lack of emotion or the lead singer forgetting a few lyrics, did dampen the experience a bit, but this will improve as the show’s run progresses.
Although not the place to search for an artistic revelation, this show is a perfect fix for a Friday night fiesta. It is loud, proud and bursting with energy. The Pussycat Dolls have always drawn their influences from a wide range of musical genres and this show manages to situate each song in its own distinct visual context, from the Motown of Baby, Where did our Love Go? to the cabaret of Right Now. In the end, it made me smile and I think that’s all we sometimes need to make our day just a tad brighter. A big booty up in the air for Doll Domination. As the banefully bureaucratic narrator so neatly put it, “The Dolls are definitely not going back to the dollhouse”.
Doll Domination took place at the Roxy Revue Bar from 8 March to 28 April