[2007073] Polecats

Polecats (FringeTIX)

Bluetongue Theatre @ Bakehouse Theatre

10:30pm, Wed 28 Mar 2007

Let’s get one thing straight – I don’t shortlist shows for titillation value. If I happen to roll up at a show and there’s goodies to purve at, then fine – but I won’t pick something because of promised nudity.

So quite why I chose Polecats is beyond me.

Let’s review the Guide précis (from the Dance section, no less), shall we?

Cathy Adamek and her feline friends take pole dancing out of the strip clubs and into the theatre to create a dance theatre spectacular! Set to turn the showgirl genre on its head, POLECATS takes dancing to places where the TapDogs feared to tread.

Right. So it’s a dance piece focused on pole dancing, eh? I’m not that big a fan of pole dancing; the physical element doesn’t thrill me, and its eroticism escapes me. So… why was I here, again?

No matter – the ticket has been bought, and – being all by my lonesome, as per usual – it was easy enough to get a front-row seat in this sold-out performance. In retrospect, not something to be stuck in the front row for, with all the crotches being swung about at head height; a tad uncomfortable, that.

And, to be fair, it was somewhat interesting to watch. A cute opening initially promises a lot of depth to the show – a cute little girl (I’m crap with ages, but let’s guess in the 5-6 year old range) peeks out from all corners of the wings, before running onstage to frolic, twist and swing around the five roof-high poles that form the set. It’s charming and endearing and grinworthy; she curtseys, smiling, then scoots offstage.

The stars of Polecats – the five main dancers – then trek from the back of the Bakehouse, through the crowd, to man their poles. Costumes are immaculate; each a sufficiently different style from the others to evoke a different response – there’s french aloofness, there’s delicate flower, there’s pricey escort, there’s cheap whore. And the dancing – well, there’s no doubt that pole dancing requires a massive amount of upper body strength, and there’s ample flexibility on show… but, as I’ve said before, it’s not really my cup of tea. The music is pretty good throughout, though.

Each dancer gets their own extended solo, allowing for some interesting set pieces – the champagne glass comes to mind – and there’s a couple of other diversions on rollerskates. In between acts, the only male in the Polecats troupe (the pole wiper… oo-er!) comes out and… wipes the poles down (presumably for safety reasons); his third appearance allows him to revel in a pole-dancing performance of his own. The finale, appropriately set to Spandau Ballet’s Gold, saw the five principal dancers kneel and turn their backs to the crowd, perform a very slow upper-body strip, then swoop down to cover their breasts with gold glitter. A cathartic exposure of the sparkling mammaries to the crowd and they’re running off, coming back only for a bow to thunderous applause from the predominantly female audience.

To be fair, Polecats is everything the Guide said it would be; but for some reason, I was expecting much more. Which is odd, considering that it delivers pole-dancing – just like it said on the tin. And I remain bemused as to why an act that want to “take pole dancing out of the strip clubs” ended with a strip. Like I said, I’ve no idea why I chose Polecats – and I can’t really see why it’s garnered sell-out crowds and rave reviews. Something different? Yeah, I suppose so. Worthwhile? Debatable.

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