Do you want sauce with that?

As winter forces some of us into thermal underwear, others are happy to warm us up by getting their gear off. From the exquisite subversion of The Glory Box (The Burlesque Hour) at 45downstairs to the many classes where middle age women realise just how hot they are, Melbourne may soon deserve number plates with “The Burlesque State”, and  The Badass Burlesque Company are a saucy new company to keep an eye on.

The Butcher Shop Revue
The Butcher Shop Revue

The Butcher Shop Revue had a short season at The Butterfly Club that led to a night that had Red Bennies filled to over flowing.

Giving a big hug, with some appropriate inappropriate touching, to the traditions of burlesque and vaudeville, a Badass show starts with innunendo-inclined MC Dirk von Danjer, who’s clad in ok-if you’re-in-a-car-accident white underwear and braces, and there’s a scrumptious feast of acts including torch song singers, circus, ariels and a selection of men and women who get their kit off.

With a mix of naughty, nice and hooly-dooley!, what defines a Badass performer is that every act has a sense of the performers sexual self at its centre. This has nothing to do with exposing flesh and celebrates the awesome sexiness of everyone.

It’s hard to pick favourites but Honey B Goode hilariously rejects expectations of “nice girl” strip, Nathan Smith subverts gender assumptions (his footy strip should be the warm up for every ball-devoted Grand Final) and it was an unexpected treat to see song and dance man Reuben K back in town. Reuben’s been a-wow-ing them in the UK, but is back for a visit and to fly over the crowds to sing “Space Oddity”.

The Butcher Shop Revue is far more than a series of strips. Grabbing (and probably goosing) some of the best acts in town, Badass are developing shows that love the feathers and sequins of burlesque, but makes sure that the excitement starts in our heads. Tightening themes and directing for an overall picture will take them further along the from variety to theatre show, if that’s what they want to do, but if you fancy a bit of burlesque, their next show is The Brass Bear Cabaret at the Melbourne Cabaret Festival.

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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