Burlezque Pillow Talk
‘Love, loss, acceptance and solidarity, told through a Queer lens.’
By Lauren Halford
After an ill-timed car accident and then state lockdown prevented me from seeing the 2021 premiere of Burlezque’s ‘Pillow Talk’, I was thrilled to hear that the gang were coming back together for the 2022 ‘Back in the Sack’. And what a show!
As a long-time fan of many of the individual involved, it’s always so wonderful to see a group of people come together and create something so meaningful. With a few line-up changes from previous years, the Burlezque cast are more diverse than ever, creating a safe space for the exploration of sexual and gender identity.
Told through a Queer lens are the many facets of love- whether it be lust, loss, acceptance, or solidarity, Queer love is complex, and above all else- beautiful. The real Gay Agenda the is community and connections we surround ourselves with.
Kicking off the show was a fun and fresh group number, where we are introduced to the troupe, and then reminded of all of the things that have made the last two years less than ideal- set to the artistic genius that is 2020’s absolute banger W.A.P. Ginger LaMinge is a brilliant and confident MC, taking hold of the stage with their powerful voice and commanding presence. With poignant commentary and words of validation, she set the mood for the show perfectly at each of her intervals.
Burlezque newcomer Ronnie Rum Punch is always a delight to watch, the sizzling act enticing the packed audience who went wild for her alluring attitude and floor work.
Fae Salem and Veruca Sour wove a delightful narrative about the power of friendship from a Queer perspective- to the beautiful sounds of everyone’s favourite gender-role breaking King Harry Styles!
Guests Justin Sider and Freddy Beperfect performed an act that will resonate deeply with the trans community. A sweet homage to self-discovery, gender expression and opening your true self up to others, the performers were a delightful addition to the line-up that showcased a difference facet of personal identity.
The Moesha performed a Polynesian inspired routine as an homage to their heritage and personal struggles as a queer person of colour. Beautifully danced and powerfully constructed, the piece bought tears to the eyes of many in the audience who relate to these complex emotions.
Polly St Pearl and Fae Salem gave me chills with their artistic duet, exploring themes of love and loss, and the complex push and pull of a relationship breakdown. Stunning choreography, simple costuming and incredible lighting created a depth to the performance that challenged the traditional expectations of what a burlesque act should be.
The standout performer to me has to be Ava Royale. An incredibly emotional performance, she captivated the audience with her movement, conveying feelings of loss and heartbreak. Moving with practiced grace and emotional vulnerability, the piece felt personal and heart-wrenching. Such a universal feeling, Ava embodied the passionate and raw emotion of the flip side of love that had me tear up thinking about my own experiences.
As a Queer woman who is often told that she “doesn’t look gay enough”, it is so validating to see, hear, and experience such solidarity in the LGBTQI+ community. So often media is unbelievably heteronormative, where girl meets boy, and they fall in love and get their happy ending. But what if girl meets girl? Or girl meets a non-binary person? Or two people who haven’t quite decided how they identify meet and fall in love? Navigating these themes may be new to many, but they are stories that deserve to be told. This community needs and deserves representation, and Burlezque’s ‘Pillowtalk: Back in the Sack’ gives a voice to these stories.
Polished, perfected, and poignant, as always the latest Burlezque instalment is a must see this Fringe Season.