23rd February 2019: A Belated-Valentine’s Day Spectacular
“Cici invites you to celebrate the end of Winter and the start of warmer days…”
Cici Noir’s Burlesque Show was an extravaganza to say the least: a night of beautiful ladies and a colorful array of acts– from the saucy to the comedic– with barely a dull moment in between.
I had never been to a burlesque show before, and although the show has not radicalized me into a burlesque fanatic, I had a good time. Produced by the Rondo Theatre’s very own Pippa Thornton (writer and director of Fresher) in association with Flipside Studios, this belated Valentines show kicked off the beginning of spring with a saucy finesse to the delight of many. The show featured a wide variety of performances, not all of them sexual– including vaudeville puppetry with a modern Bruno Mars twist performed by Sylvia Hunt, as well as wonderfully quirky and relatable stand-up from Beth Hodd. It wouldn’t be a burlesque show without showing some skin, which this company certainly provides with some fruity performances from Violet Velvet, Phoxy Qurvy, Steam Tease, the burlesque troupe Cream Tease of Oxford, the infamous and titular Cici Noir, and more.
One of the more evident improvements of the show came with the premiere of a new host: Harriet Knight. Arriving from the Bell Inn’s LGBTQ+ Burlesque show, her character Joshua Beau Jangles has a stage name as colorful as her personality. She carries the show with her fun yet relaxed attitude that both new and old-comers alike could enjoy. As a particularly new new-comer, I appreciated her friendliness and her eagerness to laugh, helping people with all various levels of experience feel welcome. She spiced up intervals between acts with various types of games, involving patrons in picking dirty pick-up from a wig, playing the newly-wed game with couples, and even lip-syncing a scandalous (and whip cream-filled ) musical number to a special audience member. All the performers were lovely and exciting, but by the end of the night Joshua Beau Jangles became my self-proclaimed favorite, and I look forward to the LGTBQ+ Burlesque at the Bell Inn.
Although they are still trying to find their footing as a company, Cici Noir’s Burlesque show has already made big strides since their premiere last Christmas season. There were still a few awkward moments when the audience would applaud only for the sake of trying to be energetic. Additionally, and unfortunately, some of the acts tended to also fall into a predictable reveal routine: turn around, take off the left bra strap, then the right, whip around for the showstopper: breasts with covered nipples (bear in mind, I am not an expert in burlesque, so I am not qualified– nor inclined– to critique the show’s “sexual appeal”). That said, the performers rocked the stage with growing confidence and an infectious enthusiasm from their last performance. With each ASE term, this burlesque company is sure to get better and better, and I, for one, cannot think of a better study-abroad story than telling your friends you went to a British Burlesque show. With pop songs, comedy, and nipple-tassels galore, this burlesque troupe is sure to dazzle and excite, and I hope any ASE student come to see this rising burlesque troupe for a night of allure at the Rondo Theatre.