When it comes to burlesque, there’s no bigger name than Dita Von Teese.
Conjuring up images of Swarovski adorned gowns, velvet throws and silk sheets, hers is a name synonymous with luxury, and showcases the skill of balancing the line between femme fatale and glamour girl. Her new Australian show, The Art of the Teese is truly a testament to her incredible career, and ever so elegantly puts the sultry back into striptease.
Frequently dubbed ‘The Queen of Burlesque’, this true showgirl has been perfecting her art form since 1992, and has thrilled theatres of audiences for the last 17 years. Her latest decadent tour is true to form and packs a host of impressive acts, from Ginger Valentine, to Gia Genevieve, to Down Under’s very own Zelia Rose. For those with doubts about attending, cast them aside and prepare yourself for a sinfully good time.
With a deep, purple velvet curtain on the stage, and a packed Thebarton Theatre, where many attendees were frocked in burlesque or formal gowns of their own, it was clear to see that the excitement in the air was tangible and growing by the minute. The booming voice of the night’s emcee, the inimitable Jonny McGovern (of Youtube fame, host of the Hey Qween podcast) served as a signal that the show was to begin, but what we were to expect? Something wickedly exciting.
Stepping out from behind the raised curtain, in front of a remarkably large martini glass (filled with Cristal champagne no less), was the woman herself, adorned with thousands of golden crystals, elegantly cascading across her formidable physique. Not looking a day over 25, it wasn’t long until she was splashing around in the glass as though it were merely a regular bathtub, leaving the audience captivated, and her with little to the imagination.
The second scene saw Ginger Valentine in a lacy red number, balancing and crawling around a massive metal heart standing centre stage. Calmly, gracefully, and with the skillset expected when working with a veteran like Dita, Ginger Valentine swayed to calm jazz, and stripped down to nipple pasties and custom made Louboutin’s.
It was unclear as to who was the bigger fan, Adelaide’s audience who hollered, wolf whistled, and cried out for more, or Jonny McGovern who would appear after each act with a noticeably bigger fan, ‘to cool down after the steamy performances’. With easy hilarity, he served as one of the highlights of the evening, even breaking into a song ‘for the ladies’, entitled Don’t Fall in Love With a Homo.
Zelia Rose’s high energy banana-themed routine came next, leading into Gia Genevieve’s sultry bathtub dance, which was complete with a crystal-adorned, working, four-clawed tub.
Dita returned to the stage for Lazy, one of her own track collaborations, which gave audience members utter phone envy for the bedazzled crystal handset that would see her answer and subsequently turn down suitors in preference for a lazy day inside (semi-naked and served by two of the most attractive butlers in the business).
Dirti Martini’s carousel act saw her astride a free-standing crystallized carousel horse, displaying the most impressive nipple-tassel acrobatics in the business. She returned to the stage at the request of Jonny McGovern, to thrill the audience once more, and lead Dita into the final act – Rhinestone Cowgirl.
Adorned head to toe in pink Swarovski crystal, Dita’s chaps, boots, hat and bra was the outfit highlight of the evening, and the scene saw her swaying to burlesque-country western music, before she climbed onto the back of the pink mechanical bull and ended the show on an absolute high.
The perfect way to explore Adelaide’s Fringe is to cast aside expectations, open your mind to new experiences, and follow the white rabbit down the hole to acts on the ‘fringe’ of society. Of these, Dita Von Teese: The Art of the Teese is a must see.
Review by Robyn Clifford