Wikipedia gives the definition of Burlesque as ‘a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects.’
There are a few moments when this definition might apply to The Hurly Burly Show, but unfortunately, not frequently enough.
From the beginning it is clear that the girls are undoubtedly sexy and sultry, with a small splash of charisma to boot, but sharp and slick, they are not. Perhaps they don’t have to be, but even soft and sensual body language needs to be energised in order for an audience to feel it. Burlesque is better suited to a more intimate venue than The Duchess really, but there is no reason why it can’t work successfully on a bigger stage if the performances are powered by enough adrenaline to grip an auditorium. On the whole however, the girls of The Hurly Burly Show seem too sloppy and unsynchronised in the, at times potentially effective, choreography to sustain their audience’s interest.
Joanna Woodward (Coco Dubois) gives her audience a taste of the right style, hosting the evening with some charm, comfortable humour and a keen sense of naughtiness
Most of the performances are too general, losing a lot of the humour. Near the opening, the girls introduce themselves, to display their individual personalities. Were these unique characters continued and adhered to strongly enough throughout the show, it could be funny and varied, but it appears that after being introduced, they largely blend into the same kind of relatively one-dimensional sensual woman.
Joanna Woodward (Coco Dubois) gives her audience a taste of the right style, hosting the evening with some charm, comfortable humour and a keen sense of naughtiness, and Caroline Amer (Peggy de Lune) delivers a very entertaining rendition of Chicago Illinois in the second half – this being just what the evening needs stacks more of. The costumes are of a high standard, but the positive aspects cannot outweigh the mish mash of dance styles and occasional questionable modernising, nor excuse the weaker singing voices, or the many obvious lighting mistakes, which Woodward does well to joke about.
It is a shame because this show has a lot of potential, but it appears to have been too haphazardly thrown together with not enough care and attention paid to its portrayal.
** (2 stars)
Runs until 22nd September