'Vanguard Burlesque' returned to Wonderland Festival for the fourth consecutive year to perform two sold-out shows. Billed as a night of offbeat glamour and seduction, 'Vanguard Burlesque' delivered on the offbeat, presenting a burlesque variety show full of surprises.
The night (24 November) started off with a string of old world glamour burlesque performances, with Australian Pin Up Pageant NSW Winner 2017, Lara Love, the first to grace the stage. Strutting her stuff to Bishop Briggs’ pulsing ‘River’, Miss Love pouted and preened while tackling the obviously difficult art of fan veil dancing.
Next up was reigning Miss Burlesque Gold Coast, Dolly Cakes, who channelled the Golden Age of Burlesque, coquettishly disrobing to ‘Dream A Little Dream Of Me’. Chelsea May Smooch followed, performing a tongue-in-cheek routine to ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy’ in a nod to the late Anna Nicole Smith. The last of the classic performances was by 'Vanguard Burlesque' co-Producer, Lillian Lace, who removing her layers in titillating fashion to the squeaks and squeals of a brass instrumental.
From here the offbeat glamour began, with Mr Boylesque Australia Runner Up 2017, Baron Von Envy, taking on the roles of both Cinderella and Prince Charming. With the back of his costume the former, and the front the latter, Baron mimed the short-lived romance of the fairytale couple, with the prince ultimately succumbing to the allure of Cinderella’s slipper. Unfortunately, due to a wardrobe malfunction, the slipper refused to fit the artificial foot protruding from the prince’s crotch, leaving the act’s culmination feeling more like an anti-climax.
Miss Burlesque Australia Entertainer of the Year 2015, Betty Lovecat, had the audience whooping along to her intergalactic themed act, while Clara Cupcakes brought the vaudeville, performing a quirky hula hoop routine to a 1920s big band ditty.
The most impressive entrance of the night belonged to Magnolia Knife. Adopting a goddess of war persona, Miss Knife’s piercing gaze from under a lion headpiece cut through the smoke she conjured, before she tassel-twirled as only the 2015 Miss Tassel Twirl Australia could to Kendrick Lamar’s ‘King Kunta’.
Costume-wise, Alyssa Kitt stole the show as Greek mythology legend, Icarus. Standing stock-still with wings outstretched, bedecked with a towering feather headpiece, and illuminated in shades of gold while thunder sound effects rumbled, Miss Kitt was an impressive sight to behold. Her routine to ‘I Put A Spell On You’ seemed strained however, not by her movements, but by her facial expressions, leaving my companion and I concerned for her physical comfort.
The most startling performance of the night was by headliner act, Ginger Foxx. Wearing UV glow contact lenses, emitting blood-curdling screams and making out with a severed head prop, Miss Foxx’s ‘The Ice Queen’ act was something I would expect to see at a Warner Bros. Movie World Fright Night, but what would I know, as it won Miss Foxx the Baby Bombshells competition at the 2015 Australian Burlesque Festival.
On the whole, with a little more polish and a little less abrasiveness from Mistress of Ceremonies, CeCe Shabam, (who did a wonderful rendition of 'Beauty And The Beast'’s ‘Be Our Guest’), there could be something for everyone.