Bohemian Starlet

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Edinburgh Fringe

Well this is why I have been so quiet on the old Blog front, I have spent the last 3 weeks in Edinburgh on and off for the Fringe.

Hwell well, it was a crazy few weeks indeed. It seemed the whole of the London Cabaret scene made their way up to the bonnie land of shortbread and haggis.

We honestly couldn't walk down the street ten yards without saying how do to some familiar face. It was lovely tho.

The venue we were set up in was a giant church/chapel called the Tron, (one of the oldest in Edinburgh) and we rather blasphemously were in there performing our risque and raunchy was a pile of bricks and an empty shell until two days before we arrived, they put the stage, lights, sound and bar in all for the Fringe.

The first few nights there were some obvious hiccups, running times, music choice. sound and just general getting to know the venue, the show and how we could make it work. Rather quickly tho (obv) we manged to make it run like a dream and everything fell into it's rightful place.

The week I was away we had the rather marvelous Sukki Singapora fill in for me and my juicy sex twin, Missy Fatale. Both of them had great feed back and lots of love to them for coming and doing my slots. We also had Trixi Tassels come and do a quick belly dancing act, she was up there for some other gigs but we lured her in...mwar har har.

Our show was 9pm til 11.30pm EVERY night, which meant that we really didn't get to see any other shows, unless they were a late one, we saw some other Burlesque and Cabaret from our chums, but other than that, we were very much just up there for the work. and believe me we worked!!

I haven't quite worked out how to get my pics off of Instagram yet SO if you would like to see them and have instragram? Then come find me billieraegun


I was invited to perform at The Queen Calavara in Hamburg's St Pauli area. It's a crazy west street, Red light district part of Hamburg I had no idea existed. Fully legal sex workers, sex shows and all the strange and kinky play things right in it's own little world.

I found it a lot like Brighton, mid week it was quieter and felt like it was a 'community' but at the peak days on the weekend, it was carnage, drunk stag do's and hen parties, shouting blokes, but when Sunday morning came again, the street cleaner was out and it was as if nothing had ever happened...

Well my shows were at the Queen on the Thurs, Fri and Sat nights. My first night was on my lonesome, which was quite hard as I had to try and keep an audience by myself (which apparently was busier than normal Thurs) I took over my Humming Bird, Zeigfeld Carnie and Forgotten Ballerina, I reaaally wish I had bough The lonely Goatherder as I think the Germans would have loved it!
But the second night I worked with Erochica Bamboo, Japanese born burlesque icon, who now lives in Berlin, she was icredible, I loved working with her, her energy and her passion for the stage, her costumes and Burlesque was really admirable. She was a winner of Miss Exotic world when it was still a small competition for die hard fans, I loved it as she said when she won, due to her lack of English at the time, she didn't even know.
We had a really nice time backstage and it was very fun working with her.

On the Saturday we then did 2 shows, one in a salon run by the most stunning transgender I have ever met, her Salon was a place renowned for hair colourings and we changed in the room with all the dyes, literally every colour under the sun. We did a little number and it then headed over to the Queen for the rest of the night, we were joined by Leo Lilly, a German based performer, truly a blonde Sex bomb, wow.

Live shot by Carlos Kella
I was hosted all weekend by one of the sweetest men I have met in Burlesque, Sven, he was a true fan of Burlesque and all that comes with it, he took me around all the spots of Hamburg (which he must do every weekend) and he really looked after me and Erochica. He's not a sleazy or pervy guy in any way and I would really recommend going out to Hamburg and working for the Queen Calavara as the team of people behind it are lovely.

The Brickhouse JULY

Our little show La Bordello Boheme had a months run at Brick Lanes Bricklane,

The Brickhouse is a quirky place, there are 3 floors that look down on a really high and long stage (took me a while to get used to it) and the diners and other show on lookers watch from lots of different places, so when performing you have to spread your attention over the whole venue.
I actually really enjoyed it.

We had some other delightful and wonderful artists join us...

Trixi Tassels, Edd Muir, Fifi Fatale, Suri Sumatra, Mister Mistress, Trixi Malicious and Heavy Metal Pete.

All of them when down a storm and of course we had our favourite loopy chum, Chi Chi!!

It was great being there tho as it meant we were able to use London artists much easier than when we book in Brighton and there was no stress about trains etc, well only our own, which we did miss a couple of times. Boo...

We also got a lovely review from Franco Milazzo ...

The origins of travelling vaudeville troupes lie in improved transport links between cities. In the mid-19th century, new railroads meant posses of vaudevillians could play in New York one week and Chicago the next. These days, marquee productions like La Soirée and Cirque du Soleil trot the globe on a constant basis.

The Brickhouse has made a name for itself in recent years as a destination for out-of-town troupes keen to impress a London audience. Boylesque brigade Mod Carousel and burlesque dolls Sinner Saint Burlesque have both travelled 6,000 miles from Seattle to Brick Lane to put on productions this year. La Bordello Boheme have only travelled from Brighton but are a still a welcome change from much of the current London fare.

Burlesque hoopster Chi Chi Revolver performing with Bordello Boheme
Burlesque hoopster Chi Chi Revolver performing with Bordello Boheme

As a troupe, we’ve rarely seen one smaller than this quartet but, as we found out (again), size isn’t everything. Take, for example, the captain of this merry crew. Veronica Blacklace may well be one of the most brazenly brilliant singer/compères to ascend a London stage. A corseted combination of Jessica Rabbit and Dusty Limits, she expertly leads her merry band from the front. And how.

While some hosts barely move from the stage, Blacklace treats the entire lower two floors of the venue as her personal space: she gives (fully clothed) lapdances, takes from the audience glasses of both varieties (drinking wine from one, trying the other type on for size) and wipes one diner’s face with his own napkin. On one of her many walkabouts, she spots a waiter cleaning a nearby spillage. Leaning over, she tells him “and while you’re down there…” Blacklace exudes charisma and calor throughout the night, enough to be forgiven her occasional choice of overused standards like Feelin’ Good.

As for the other three members of La Bordello Boheme‘s cast, it’s all killer, no filler. Burlesquer Billie Rae shows admirable levels of dynamism and bravado, especially in her second act. Appearing onstage with an elaborate outfit featuring Isis wings and a huge feather fan headdress, she takes time to draw the audience in before suddenly stripping down to tassels and merkin. Most burlesque performers would scarper offstage right about then; instead, Rae casually proceeds to demonstrate some elegant fire-eating to the obvious enjoyment of the crowd.

This isn’t to say there is nothing for the ladies to swoon over. Edd Muir starts with an unusual Indiana-Jones-style bullwhip act. The loud practiced cracks temporarily silence the rowdy office outing on the mezzanine floor as he uses the whip to dismember newspaper sheets and a rose held between Blacklace’s barely quivering lips. His second appearance draws more than a few sighs as he strips off to show a mean set of abs and ascends a Chinese pole demonstrating the kind of skill reminiscent of La Soirée’s Hamish McCann.

Dancing within a lit-up hula hoop while stripping is nothing new but it makes for a visually spectacular experience as World Burlesque Games’ Triple Crown winner Anna The Hulagan demonstrated this year. Chi Chi Revolver has the edge on Anna in one respect, though: the former has priceless facial expressions not dissimilar to a toddler tasting chocolate ice-cream for the first time.

Overall, this is an exciting show, both sexy and thrilling in parts, which needs to be seen. It needs to be seen by people who don’t understand the draw of live variety shows. It needs to be seen by people who do, but think they require a large number of mono-skilled performers. And it needs to be seen by 21 July unless you really do want to travel to Brighton to see this high quality cabaret troupe. Go.