Venue: Baldacchino Gypsy Tent
Sunday, July 14, 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 19, 9 p.m. Sunday, July 21, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 28, 1:45 p.m. Friday, July 26, 6:45 p.m. Saturday, July 27, 10:30 p.m.
They say: “Get ready for a sassy, sexy twist and a raucous romp to some traditional Broadway show tunes. Watch the costumes fall away and the sparkly skin emerge to songs from Damn Yankees to Rent – some classic and some unexpected!”
Burlesque sideshow mash-ups are a thing at Fringe this year, and we’re happy to let you all know that thus fair, pairing stripping with showtunes has worked out better than combining side-boob with The Shining.
Burlesque Classique’s Burlesque of Broadway is a riotous good time for those who like musicals, puns about musicals, and sparkly pasties. The show takes place in the tent, so try to have a beer or two beforehand. For best results, be sober enough so that you remember “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway (If you don’t have any Jews”) is a song from Spamalot, but tipsy enough to embrace the camp. The production values are slightly homespun, but the chutzpah is highly professional, particularly in the opening number, when the ladies strip down to skivvies studded with rhinestone Stars of David and spin their derrieres around.
Now, it should be said from the start that these performers are not Triple Threats. It’s disappointing when emcee Mx May Nads (a.k.a Jeremy Pace) opens the show by lip-synching. He’s a gifted raconteur, however, and points his toes like a ballet pro. While the ladies are backstage changing, he regales the audience with tales of growing up gay in St. Louis (not fun) and shamelessly employing microphone-equals-penis humor. (“I’ve always wanted such a sparkly one of these aimed at my face.”)
The biggest laughs, for the musical theater geeks out there, erupt during a brief chorus of “I’m not wearing underwear today” (from Avenue Q), and when a fully clothed “nun” euphorically spins around onstage to strains of Julie Andrews singing “The Hills are Alive.” Pace, wearing one of many spangled blazers, comes onstage to interrupt before the wimple comes off. Sorry, fantasizing former Catholic schoolboys, they’re just not going to go there.
But pretty much everything does come off during other numbers, including “When You’re Good to Mama” (from Chicago) and “Mama Thinks I’m Living in a Convent” (from Cabaret). The cleverest tease of all comes courtesy of Pace, when he rolls around onstage in a blow-up children’s pool, scrubbing away while Mary Martin asserts, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of Hair.”
Like Pace, several of the ladies appear to have honed their dance skills at barres, not just bars. Their pirouettes aren’t perfect, but they’re impressive, as are the leg extensions, which is all the better for showing off lacey bloomers while romping through Offenbach’s “Infernal Galop.” That classic can-can is technically from an operetta, not a musical. Not that we’re counting, but it would have been amusing to see the troupe be a bit more subversive with its musical choices. Annie is back on Broadway, you know. Maybe Burlesque Classique will let that sun come out tomorrow.
See it if: You couldn’t get A Book Mormon ticket, dammit, and a naked “Cell Block Tango” sounds like the next best thing.
Skip it if: You don’t go to strip clubs for the showtunes.