The complimentary sherry and the suitably ‘cigar lounge’ feel certainly set the mood on entering Trinity’s VIP lounge. The plush furnishing, dim lighting and slightly hazy atmosphere all lend to the vintage burlesque ambience, really setting the tone as patrons sip their generous glasses of wine and settle into their allocated table space. Booking is a very good idea by the way, as the venue will only take 250 people on a La Burlesque night.
You might presume, after hearing the call to be seated, that sitting in a comfy wing back couch facing the stage would be the best position to start the show, but you would be wrong. At the first lines of ‘Welcome to Burlesque’ all eyes swivel around to see two gorgeous blondes – resident singers Shannyn Fourie and Caely-Jo Levy – stalking down the staircase, microphones in hand, belting Cher’s well known opening song from “that movie” to perfection. The distraction complete another surprise erupts from the left as, in a surge of smoke, the five-strong dance cast take to the stage.
It is only natural to have the eye drawn immediately to the three lovely ladies of the troupe. Natalie Walsh, Mila de Biaggi and Jenna Robinson-Chil (who alternates with Ipeleng Marafe) provide ample eye candy, and their dancing abilities – choreographed by Deb Jardine – are truly impressive. Not to be outdone, the two men of the troupe, Grant Van Ster and Hope Maimane, are put through their paces beautifully. Look out for them on the trussing in ‘Misbehaviour’. Meeoow!
Like a magician using a pretty assistant, the art of misdirection is liberally applied as attention is pulled and pushed between the singing of “Les Blondes”, the dancing of “the triplets” and the charms of the exceptionally talented menfolk in the show. Lightning fast costume changes and smooth transitions from number to number keep up a captivating momentum throughout both halves, and Trinity’s VIP lounge makes an ideal intimate setting for this burlesque-inspired dance show, with its mezzanine balconies, sweeping double staircase and entrance way fountain which are all used almost as much as the stage itself.
Keep an eye out for the ‘Cell Block Tango’ during which Natalie, Mila and Jenna pull off the six characters beautifully. And hold on to your husbands during ‘That Man’ or you might just lose one of them to the stage, and of course the charms of Shannyn and Caely Jo.
For me, the show was over way too soon and left me wanting more. Thankfully though, there is more to be had… with performances twice a month at Trinity, this is an event that could become a regular in many Cape Town diaries.
Jodi Le Roux
La Burlesque performs every alternate Thursday evening at Trinity, 15 Bennett Street, Greenpoint.