[2008035] The Very Best Of Empress Stah

The Very Best Of Empress Stah (FringeTIX)

Empress Stah, Ryan Styles, Le Gateau Chocolat @ The Umbrella Revolution

11:30pm, Wed 27 Feb 2008

Burlesque really hit the Adelaide Fringe consciousness in 2006, when La Clique was certainly the hottest ticket in town, and was accompanied by a stack of other such titillating compilation shows. La Clique returns this year to a much bigger venue, and Empress Stah – self-proclaimed Neo-Burlesque queen – also brings her own accompanied show to the Umbrella Revolution.

Technical difficulties lead to the show starting well past midnight, and releasing us back into the cold night air at about 1:30am. In between, each of the performers makes multiple appearances to shake their thang.

Empress Stah opens with an odd blood self-extraction and consumption, and a bit of a strip. And a little game I called “guess what I can hide in my orifi.” She also does a few aerial shows, hanging from a chandelier, and the much-talked about glitter show. Oh, and she fucks a blow-up man-doll on stage. No worries.

Ryan Styles does an energetic – yet tiresome – dance, and a performance art piece balances atop a stack of plates. His highlight, though, is his balloon trick; sure, I’ve seen it all before, but it’s still an good act to watch.

But the real star of the night is Le Gateau Chocolat, an overweight bearded black lycra-loving… beast. Belting out songs with a stunning voice (dropping as low as Barry White) and prowling the audience with a well-honed presence, Chocolat steals the show with larger-than-life characters and laughs galore.

By comparison, the “star” of the show – Stah – was the weakest link; positively lifeless, just an ornament to be gawked at. I’ll take the performer who engages, thankyouverymuch.

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