Century Club, London
With lockdown lifted across the country there is much to commend the twirling bravura of Tempest Rose, in thrusting her company’s short season of burlesque onto a performance-starved and entertainment-craving capital city.
Socially distanced, Shaftesbury Avenue’s Century Club (which later that same evening was to prove the venue for Sky News’ Kay Burley’s undoing) accommodated some 30 souls for an eclectic set. But in a number of ways, it was the requirements of our times that led to the evening failing to reach the potential to which Rose aspired. Intimately performed burlesque playing to an audience of tens, rather than, say, hundreds demands not only a cabaret-style setting, but an audience lubricated by cocktail-fuelled libation. With current regulations demanding that alcoholic beverages only be served alongside a “substantial meal” leaves the audience required to choose from the Century’s disappointing food menu, if they are to lose some of their inhibition to the demon drink. And with such imposed restrictions, much of the noir-esque intimacy that this artform demands, is lost.
That being said – there were moments of talent in the House Of Burlesque set, with the women displaying not only sex-appeal (an integral feature of a burlesque show), but also classy vocal tone and gorgeous movement. There was wit to the routine too – most notably a reverse strip that saw the scantily clad performers don their clothes to the music, rather than the expected traditional take (off).
The show moves to the South Bank’s Bridge Theatre for a brief late-night residency, where theatre style, the artistes’ talented charms may have more effect. But for burlesque as well as for Burley – last Saturday evening at the Century Club failed to enthral.
11th – 12th & 18th – 19th December
11th and 12th Dec
Socially distanced theatre seating