Every year this show goes absolute gangbusters and regularly sells out. There is good reason for this, Hot Sauce Burlesque is the real deal. It’s a proper traditional style Hollywood burlesque show. So while there is some (quite large) amount of T & A, it is really about the performances that lead up to it, that is the show.

Burlesque is often dismissed as ‘fancy stripping’, a statement that not only shows no understanding of what burlesque actually is about, and is also rings a few too many ‘slut shaming’ bells for me. Burlesque in my experience is really amazing performers (mostly) women, being sexy, funny, bendy, daring, provocative, glamorous and entertaining COMPLETELY ON THEIR OWN TERMS. And perhaps the most appealing and positive thing about burlesque is the powerful and very strong message that all women should be in charge of their bodies on their own terms, and that every kind of body is something to be proud of. You can be a big curvy gal, flat chested, full bosomed, short or a giant. On that stage the girls are self created Goddesses and the audiences recognise all of these creations with utter joy and celebration. Of course there is some disrobing, but the elaborate costumes and how they come off are a big part of the show, as is playful humour. It can be racy (the ‘sauce’ in the show’s title is indeed ‘hot’), but I have never found anything vulgar in any burlesque performance. It’s not a form of entertainment that is to everybody’s taste, and that is fine (more of that later!).

Adelaide’s own Lyra la Belle has worked extensively in Las Vegas, LA and all over the States and every nook and cranny of Australia took out the coveted title of Miss Hollywood Burlesque Starlet in 2015 (and she was 16 weeks pregnant at the time!). She is a accepted and respected member of the US Burlesque community and has come home to raise her daughter and teach burlesque to the next generation of Adelaide performers! She has assembled an incredible line up of performers that have worked all over the world and created perhaps the hottest, Hot Sauce yet.

Special guest this year is Simone del Mar, direct from LA. Miss del Mar is a producer and performer an Ambassador Queen of Bronze Beauties of Burlesque and smokin’ hot performer. Her performances tonight are classy, smouldering and beautiful. Amazing artist. Velvet La Vim’s is a great example of a somebody who isn’t a size 8 slip of a lass, but she owns the stage with her performance that includes kissing a frog and a transformation, but not one you might be expecting. The crowd goes wild when she puts her frog flipper tassels to work, great stuff.

The evening is hosted by comedy legend Mickey D and it’s clear this is not his first burlesque rodeo. He describes himself as tonight’s sexual sorbet, a palate cleaner between the real tasty treats on offer. He is a fantastic stand up and skilled MC, riding the audience with lighting responses and a machine gun fire of one liners. “How long have you been in show business?” he innocently asks a girl in the front row. “You’re not? Well get your feet off my fucking stage then!”. It’s all in good fun (but seriously don’t put your feet on any stage – it’s just plain rude!). It is clear why Lyra la Belle is one of the best. She is playful, sexy, really funny and 1000% percent comfortable on the stage, in the audience or the lap of an unsuspecting audience member. She is not shy. Her Lion Sleeps Tonight routine is a massive favourite with the audience tonight and quite rightly too.

Perhaps surprisingly the finale is the fine specimen of a fireman, Chris Asimos. I know, you are expecting my to debase myself with cheap tawdry throwaway gags about, about how he knows how to use his hose, or extend his ladder? Come on people I am better than that! And so should you be. As soon as he hit the stage (fire) alarms were going off through at the room, his fiery performance set temperatures racing, with his smouldering act. Oh alright I am not better than that. The entire room is whooping and hollering as Asimos includes several audience members in parts of his quick paced routine, that volume escalating with each piece of fire man outfit that is discarded. This guy is ripped, muscles and six packs. It’s a great set piece, with displays of athletic, prowess, humour and finely tuned buttocks. One of my favourite things about his act was turning round to see visiting headliner Simone del Mar, with a completely shocked look on her face. You’d think being from LA there would not be anything that could be done on a burlesque stage that would shock a seasoned professional, but little ol’ Adelaide has proved that notion incorrect.

It’s a thoroughly fantastic night. Get those tickets quick though, and grab yourself some hot sauce.

Five Stars

Fringe Review by Ian Bell

For more info on Hot Sauce Burlesque head to https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/hot-sauce-burlesque-af2018