By Sarah Ison
Image: P. Clarke
After taking a much-needed pause from their sold out show in 2015, Sugar Blue Burlesque took to the stage once more with the second volume of Expose last Saturday.
Striptease, acrobatics and fantastical (if not minimal) costumes all made their re-appearance in the show fueled by eroticism, cabaret and all things burlesque.
Expose Volume II opened with a comical and clever number, in which the MC couldn’t seem to decide whether to be blushing bride or bold harlot. The one song seemed to contain more costume changes than minutes, and started the show off with the same intensive and stimulating energy audiences had so missed.
It is unfortunate that this energy however could not be maintained across all acts. This of course is almost to be expected from an opening night a Fringe World show, especially one consisting of at least half a dozen set changes and rotating performers. All the same, selling itself as a much-anticipated return of an already successful burlesque show set the bar for Expose a tad too high. While the first few comments about obvious mistakes and the need to stall were endearing, beyond this the MC only brought more attention to the unpolished moments of several acts.
Furthermore, the staging and audience placement was at times cringingly ill planned. With a barely raised stage and the tendency for many performers to ‘get down low’, most of the audience were left with no view at all of countless acts.
As much as the audience were blushing and smirking during the sexiest parts of many erotic performances, sideways glances of disappointment in not seeing several others couldn’t be missed.
There were of course acts of redemption, the most memorable of which came from the performers of Kinetica, another 2017 Fringe show. With its heavy acrobatic focus, and the use of a full-scale bathtub on stage, this act excelled easily past the pitfalls of other performances.
The numerous speed bumps encountered during opening night did little to dampen the spirits of the Sugar Blue Burlesque entertainers however. The crammed show pushed onwards, the MC relentlessly grinning at any slip up.
While lacking pivotal polish to reach the same caliber as previous Sugar Blue performances, Expose Volume II still managed to both entertain and embarrass audience members across the crowded Spiegeltent. With many nights ahead to refine what has the potential to be a raucously sexy variety show, Expose Volume II may still be worth a shot for all lovers of burlesque.