The opening of any show is a risky affair and in 2012 that risk is heightened by the ubiquitous Olympic effect that appears to be short circuiting our tourist industry. The Hurly Burly Show 2012 flies defiantly in the face of this, offering audiences visiting the capital this summer some good old-fashioned, glamorous entertainment.
The Hurly Burly Show at the Duchess Theatre, London Photo: Tristram Kenton
William Baker’s love of burlesque goes from strength to strength and his association with Miss Polly Rae allows him to indulge in some fairly grandiose set pieces. They may not have the opulence of the Ziegfeld Follies but Baker and his design team know how to dress a stage to its fullest advantage. Nick Whitehouse’s lighting design bathes the simple settings in rich tones while occasionally throwing out stunning silhouettes along the walls of the petite auditorium, adding an extra level of intimacy to the proceedings.
Ultimately the event relies on a mix of spectacle, choreography and comedy and the Hurly Burly Girlys provide all three. Coco Dubois is a delightful addition to the ensemble, a witty and utterly engaging hostess for the evening. Each dancer demonstrates a unique character in both the choreography and the comedy skits, whether it’s the piquancy of Rachel Muldoon’s S & M routine or the delightfully silly Caroline Amer with her air-hostess rendition of Chicago, Illinois.
Finally, it is good to see Rae herself establishing a much stronger presence in her own show. Already an accomplished vocalist and an undoubtedly talented striptease artist, Rae also has a mischievous bent for comic interpretation, playing a Mother Superior to Marie Antoinette with practised ease.