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The Hurly Burly Show

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Miss Polly Rae brings The Hurly Burly Show and Girls to the Garrick billed as a "contemporary burlesque revue" helmed by fashion designer, stylist Rent Remixed director and Kylie Minogue collaborator William Baker.

Following a rip-roaring rendition of "Yakety Sax" (that's the "Benny Hill Theme" to the rest of us) the energy is immediately sucked from proceedings with jazz singer-songwriter Spencer Day emceeing us through his opening numbers. Surrounded by the Hurly Burly Girls he appears awkwardly out of place, failing to connect with the audience. Delivering a lounge-singer set surrounded by a number of barely clad showgirls, Day's numbers occasionally feel sleazy, the burlesque nowhere to be seen. The honky-tonk pastiche is not much better.

The show really gets underway only once Kitty Bang Bang takes the stage, warming up the audience for Miss Polly Rae. Emerging from a wheelie bin with an performance which combines both fire eating and burlesque - the majority of which is performed on pointe - the evening finds its momentum and comic streak, with Rae leading a Marie Antoinette skit to top the first act.

Rae demonstrates quickly that she is more than capable of compèring herself, the burlesque numbers nodding to an eclectic mix of Beyonce, Fosse, Britney and even Dirty Dancing. Kylie feels present for the duration, and Baker presents a stage with not a sequin out of place, but the inevitability of each number ending in pasties leaves little room for surprise.

Miss Polly Rae's fan dance is a highlight, and it is her skits which come closest to the truly comic, but there is a lack of variation which leaves a routine to The Pet Shop Boys' "It’s a Sin" the most subversive of the night. Altogether a slightly disappointing evening which lacks the variety to make the glitzy burlesque numbers shine.


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