City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Missy Malone & Friends Burlesque Revue, Voodoo Rooms, Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 12 February 2012

Show Details
The Voodoo Rooms
Missy Malone
Missy Malone, Des O’ Connor , Fancy Chance, Leyla Rose, Leggy Pee, Lord Holyrude (Disc Jockey)
Running time: 

The Voodoo Rooms Ballroom was host to a Valentines Special of Missy Malone & Friends Burlesque Revue, a show that started in 2009 and is now a touring sell-out.

Missy Malone, a highly trained and multi-talented Scot, is an Edinburgh Fringe regular as well as being a big name in the world of Burlesque having performed internationally and shared the bill with stars like Kitten De Ville and Immodesty Blaize.  She toured with The Damned as part of their Twisted Cabaret tour in 2007 and has danced in a 2008 Bollywood film.

The queue that formed in the foyer included some clear veterans of the burlesque scene, each beautifully turned out for the evening.  There is no official dress code (far from it in this friendly and easy going atmosphere) but vintage glamour for the gals was definitely the order of the day to the cognoscenti with guys veering to the rockabilly look. 

There was a real build-up of atmosphere with great music in anticipation of (and throughout) the show from Vintage Music Disc Jockey, Lord Holyrude.

As the glitter ball gilded its lights across the ballroom’s starred curtains, we were surrounded by an array of basques and boots; feathers and fascinators; frills and curls; red high heels and velvet.  But most important it was a mixed audience in terms of age and gender that lacked any sense of sleaze – folk were out for some good time with plenty of adult laughs.

Burlesque in the 21st century is a form of the old variety show or, going even further back, the music hall but with more overt sexiness, and involving striptease.  The individual acts are short but are packed with ingenuity and pizazz. The performers take on comical or pun laden stage names and tend to have their own stage persona and it’s all ‘in the best possible taste’!

As in the old days, burlesque shows have an MC (master of ceremonies) and Des O’ Connor is certainly a master of the craft.  He appeared in (no tie and) white tails with his painted trade mark vaudevillian Joker face.   Never without his  trusty ukulele, he performs a lexicon of linguistic  acrobatics with his brilliantly funny self- penned songs for adults before introducing the acts, only one of which went into the realms of seriously black humour.

In the inclusive atmosphere that is burlesque, the folk who clear the stage after each act, Magic Dave and Carrie, cutely called the ‘stage kitty’ and glammed up for the occasion, are also asked to take a bow. Carrie was also judge of the Best Dressed Competition where a male and female member of the sartorially stunning audience won a bottle of fizz each for looking particularly fabulous.  Nice touch!

The headline act, Missy Malone herself, opened and closed the show.  Dressed in a gorgeous brown satin dress and with long Judy Garland tresses, she danced to the fantastic sounds of Screamin Jay Hawkins’ I Put a Spell on You, expertly stripping to sparkly tassles to perform a cheeky feather fan dance.  A fabulous start to a great evening!  She closed the show with an act she had debuted in Milan where she danced turbaned and dressed in sleek black feathers and green veils, looking like an art deco statue come to life.  Stunning!

Big and busty, Irish performer Leyla Rose came on to a wild old twist tune (sorry, no playlist available) bursting her leopard balloons with her talons and creating a tantalising atmosphere with her saucy winks and smiles. She went from a snarly cat in the first half to a wiggly, wriggly mermaid in the second and the audience lapped it up.

Variety is the spice of life and the next act, Leggy Pee and Charlie, could not have been more different. Dressed in a long evening dress and stole, and coiffed blonde ‘60s style with Dusty Springfield eyes, she and Charlie, her muppet style old man companion that she manipulates so well, mime comically to romantic songs.  She is funny, clever, sweet and imaginative.  And how many people can appear on stage in curlers and silk pyjamas and still look glamorous AND claim to have a dress- up doll dedicated to them?

Korean born Fancy Chance is in a class of her own.  Her theme seems to be the shedding of prim layers, from those of a middle aged bespectacled, leopard skin coat wearing woman to Alice in Wonderland in Victorian lace to reveal outrageously and hilariously what’s hidden beneath.  She is at once blokish, ballsy, fierce and funny - chutzpah personified.

One of Des O’ Connor’s songs, Miss Dismorphia, was about the sadness of someone who was unhappy about her body and sought refuge in all the means available today to ‘fix’ it rather than just love herself as she was.  This highly professional show was an affirmation of life and fun and glamour where the participants were bien dans ses peaux (comfortable in their skin) or, if I may be indulged a wee pun,  bien dans ses basqettes. Woo –onderful!!

Show was Friday 10th February 2012 (tickets £20)