Becky Lou @ Tuxedo Cat – The Coffee Pot
9:45pm, Sat 14 Mar 2015
After Becky Lou’s appearance in Lisa-Skye’s Lovely Tea Party (and, to a lesser extent, It’s Rabbit Night!!!), I vowed that I’d see her show… but I only agreed to do so once I’d learnt that it wasn’t a burlesque show.
Rather, it’s a show about Becky Lou’s path to (and through) burlesque performance, only punctuated with snippets of burlesque. Or, as Becky Lou herself stated: “It’s about me.”
Becky Lou opens with a tantalising burlesque number that ends… well, abruptly; it’s an awkward moment that she milks before shyly entering her monologue. She notes that she’s very shy, that it’s a bit awkward to be talking to an audience whilst wearing not-very-much, and that this is the first time she’s had a speaking role… and then she begins telling us about her life.
She tells us of her early fascination with music and dance, guided by Madonna; she tells us of those pubescent growing pains, of discovering her sexuality. And she tells us of her early forays into burlesque, and her exploration of the art. There’s plenty of anecdotes about her work as a burlesque performer, too, but she never gets smutty or gossipy; occasional offhand mentions of catcalls or poor working conditions work as a basis for a broader political platform that is only implied.
At regular intervals throughout the show, Becky Lou would disappear behind a dressing screen to change for her next burlesque performance; items of clothing were always carefully treated and neatly folded… there’s a respect in her ceremony. The performances themselves are gorgeous… but, in the tight confines of the Coffee Pot’s minuscule space, uncomfortable for me to watch: I feel like Captain Pervy the Smut-Hound when smiling in appreciation of a near-naked woman’s burlesque performance.
But that’s my problem, not hers.
(Another one of my problems? Inwardly freaking out at talk of nipple glue for tassels. Eeek!)
I really enjoyed getting to know Betty Lou; for someone who describes herself as shy and awkward, she’s not afraid to bare her soul for the audience in a beautifully-weighted (and occasionally funny) autobiographical story. And as well as being an incredibly sweet and compassionate host, she certainly can Shake her stuff.
(164) Shake: Great burlesque interspersed with life stories. Fun, but uncomfortable – I still don't know how to react :) #ff2015 #ADLfringe
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 14, 2015