Thursday, 9 August 2012

Helles Belles! Part 2

Helles Belles delivered everything they promised to last Thursday... except the coconut shells sadly!  

I haven't been to The Judge and Jury since it was Molly Malone's (think that may age me but never mind) and I have to say it is bigger than I remembered it being, but still small enough venue to be ideal for a more intimate Burlesque event.  The performance area was a raised stage at the front of the pub and the girls accessed it via the bar which added considerably to the atmosphere when you saw a giant tribal mask or a large tiger swing past as you were ordering your drinks.  The atmosphere was created even before the girls or the compere had made an appearance, by the number of the audience who had made an effort to dress up for the occasion  and the audience was a real mix of people- couples, groups of friends, men and women.  It set the scene for the night perfectly.

The evening was hosted by compere Joe Allen, who was both entertaining and enthusiastic, adding just the right tone to the proceedings.  He introduced the girls with the help of their two "stage fairies" holding boards of OOH and AAH, followed by a group performance from all four girls to open the night's entertainment.  The girls donned black body suits with sparkly red hearts across the bust, and they brilliantly managed to convey their aims of the night,  to the sultry sound of Elvis' Trouble- an artistic celebration of the female form with some good old fashioned cabaret.  It was short and sweet start from the girls, but got everyone warmed up and you certainly had an idea what you were in for if you'd not been to burlesque before.  

Following this were a couple of acts from each of the girls- I can't remember the exact order (didn't bring my notebook obviously and I may have allowed myself a couple of small G&T's- as you do) but this is a rough guide to each of the girls acts.

Holly High Heels managed to revive some Hollywood glamour, with her blonde bob of curls, red lipstick and the essential powder puff!  Coming in to Push Da Button by The Colour Purple.  Her second act was more of a a boudoir scene, and once again she oozed the Hollywood glamour puss in time to Dream a Little Dream of Me by The Mamas and Papas.  And I have to say that she is in possession of the most amazing Jessica Rabbit-esque dress.

Fanny Darling shimmied in to Honolulu Rock-a-rolla which she performed in an Hawaiian girl outfit- minus the fabled coconuts sadly.  (I got a message from a very disappointed Alex the day after our last post, to say that they didn't quite work)  Her other number was backed by 1920s music and was a true art deco vintage homage, when she sauntered on to stage in the red backless dress, a gorgeous customised black turban and a simply magnificent fox stole (which somehow ended up around Joe the compere's neck) carrying with her an amazing white vintage suitcase.  

Mademoiselle Emanuelle carried it off with a slightly different but equally entertaining approach- wearing a vintage look air stewardess outfit and accompanied by Feeling Good by Michael Buble.  It was a brilliant bit of comedy, and also managed to achieve the other aim of burlesque to pull it off with style!  Her other act was to Fleetwood Mac's Black Magic Woman and was a classic burlesque routine involving untold numbers of layers being removed!

Scarlett Lovealot performed an amazing semi-tribute to Bettie Page, to the tones of Johnny and the Pirates Growl involving a stuffed tiger and a whip... as you do.  Every time I ordered a drink at the bar there was a tiger staring at me so I have to admit I did wonder if it would make an appearance. Her other act was to Eagles of Death Metal Miss Sanders; watching and listening to the music in the act really brought home to you their differing styles and personalities.  

The night was rounded off by a performance from the Ooh LaLas! to the Sam Sparro's Black and Gold. Simon and I had already noticed the disappearance of the two stage fairies somewhere around two acts before the end, so it came as less of a surprise when the girls came on and performed a classic duo burlesque piece.

As I had already thought, the girls differing styles, body shapes and personalities brought different feels to each of their performances- and what was wonderful that none of the girls outdid each other but all complemented each other to bring a fantastic and entertaining show.  

Overall it was a great night, and burlesque is more than just its reputation for stripping, it is entertainment, cabaret, vintage and above all just good fun.  It has also inspired a huge admiration for the girls in me that they had the confidence to go up on stage and perform so well and so confidently.  Well done to Helles Belles!

Helles Belles will be performing next on 28 September at Tribal Underground in Colchester.


  1. Would you believe it (given my life long love of all things vintage), I've never once in my 28 years of life been to a burlesque show. Amazing, but true! There's absolutely no specific reason for that, other than that opportunity has yet to present itself (and is unlikely to any time soon given that I now live in a smaller town again). No worries though, I'm sure I'll get to one some day and in the meantime I'll live attending them vicariously through great posts like this one.

    Big hugs & joyful weekend wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thanks for your comments Jessica! You never know, I wouldn't have imagined burlesque hitting Colchester two years ago.... and you could even follow the girls example and set your own troupe up ;-)


Thank you so much for your comments, it is very much appreciated. we read each and every one of them. x