Burlesque: Strip Strip Hooray! – which sold out its first festival performance within hours of the program announcement – is a variety show featuring some of Teese’s favourite burlesque acts from around the world.
There’s New Orleans performer Perle Noir, whose athleticism and flexibility is gasp-inducing; the Marilyn Monroe-esq Natasha Estrada, with her gravity-defying tassel talents; Catherine D’Lish, caught in a silky spider’s web; the divine Ginger Valentine, and Zorro-style male stripper Jett Adore.
But the superstar of the show is undeniably Von Teese, whose routines – complete with lush sets, beautiful lighting and dazzling costumes – are super-slick, beautiful, glamorous and seductive.
The eager audience may have expected to wait until later in the performance for more than a mere glimpse of Teese’s famous alabaster skin, but she was the first act on stage and launched straight into her famous Swarovski Martini Glass routine – which culminates in a near-naked bath in the giant glass.
She also took a shower in a giant birdcage, danced with red-gloved hands caressing her body in the “Opium Den”, and rode a pink bucking bronco clad only in nipple tassels, g-string, and glittering pink cowboy hat and boots.
Crucial to the success of Strip Strip Hooray! Is MC Murray Hill, familiar to Adelaide audiences from Club Swizzle.
Hailing from New York, the gender-bending Hill – dubbed “the hardest-working middle-aged man in show business” – is a seriously smooth operator with a clear penchant for risqué business. He warms up the already-pretty-hot crowd, introduces acts, and has everyone in fits of laughter with ribald commentary.
“This is a safe space to objectify women,” Hill quips.
There’s also an element of audience interaction, which last night uncovered (literally) some surprising talent in a dance-off between three men from the front rows. Brickie Anton – “are you sure you aren’t Ryan Gosling” – attracted almost as many catcalls and cheers for his Magic Mike-style act as the Queen of Burlesque herself.
A kaleidoscope of colours, flesh, diamantes and feathers, Dita Von Teese: Strip, Strip Hooray! is an antidote to beige – a counterpoint to all those gritty theatre experiences that make you think too hard about the world and its problems. It’s a pure, unadulterated celebration of beauty and the Hollywood-style glamour of days gone by.
Burlesque isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the packed audience at the Festival Theatre showed there is clearly an appetite for this type of entertainment. Von Teese was treated to a rock-star reception from a crowd packed with obvious fans, many of whom had dressed in homage to their idol.
And with the two-hours-plus performance attracting enthusiastic applause, cheers and a standing ovation, they clearly weren’t disappointed.
Dita Von Teese will present Burlesque: Strip Strip Hooray! again on June 23 at the Festival Theatre as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
See all InDaily’s Cabaret Festival stories and reviews here.