Gossamer Thread's Curious Cabaret // Arts Centre 22.11.13

Norwich is fast becoming known for its fabulous burlesque and cabaret scene and Friday night saw the emergence of a promising new event. Vaudeville company Gossamer Thread had put together a varied bill of acts from belly-dancing to burlesque; nothing particularly unusual you might think, but the difference was the high quality of the performers. 

There are few people who have not yet been exposed to some sort of cabaret act in recent years, so much so that the scene is in danger of becoming tired, or worse yet, boring. There are so many people calling themselves burlesque artists or claiming to perform circus acts that just don't cut it. This evening's entertainment brought new hope.

Hostess Lili La Scala was everything a compere should be. Fabulously dressed with a voice like buttercream and just the right amount of naughtiness. She even performed a few numbers of her own, in between fluttering her eyelashes and climbing on and off stage (which she managed gracefully despite the missing step). Minksy, the only burlesque act on the bill, was refreshingly different. Many events of this ilk rely on burlesque ladies taking their clothes off to get the punters in, and often go overboard on the 'pasties and fans'. Minksy was more in-keeping with the traditional meaning of burlesque - a comedy act with a bit of cheek. I won't ruin her grand finale but this circus clown managed to be sexy and funny at the same time (and for someone with Coulrophobia, not a bit scary).

Contortionist act, aptly named Bendini, was again not run-of-the-mill. Dressed as a proper gent, with a 'tache to match, he had built an act around his ability to pass his body through a tennis racket. Not being a small man, this was no mean feat and his showmanship (and red and white stripey drawers) brought laughs and gasps from the audience. 'Below The String' were, again, a refreshing addition to the conventional cabaret line-up. A musical duo dressed as a violin and squeeze box (no, really) performing original musical numbers laced with innuendo and humour. A genuinely entertaining and unique act, difficult to find these days.

Demelza Fox changed the pace of the evening a little with her traditional belly dance. No stripping involved, no gimmicks, just a mesmerising performance. At points she seemed almost to be dancing underwater, her movements so fluid and seamless no one could take their eyes off her. Daisy Black's hula hoop act and Alex The Mindreader's, well, mind reading, many in Norwich will have seen before but the duo are so watchable it is hard not to enjoy them again and again. The production in all the pair's acts is so polished, even watching their razorblade swallowing for a third time still proved fascinating. 

To finish the evening, hostess Lili La Scala performed a contemporary version of Radiohead's 'Creep', while Daisy Black twisted around her aerial hoop in a skeleton bodice. This finale brought goosebumps and wide eyes from all watching and was a fabulous end to an amazing evening. And all for just ten pounds.

Lenore

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