Twisted Knickers Burlesque – Boobs, Balls, & Broadway, Hon
A REVIEW BY ACHILLES FEELS
We here at the Bad Oracle believe there are many kinds, styles, periods and types of theatre. Burlesque, as defined by St. Wikipedia is:
“a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects.”
The evening I had with TKB was nothing short of ludicrous!
Twisted Knickers Burlesque, a troupe based here in Baltimore (but also performing regionally in DC and parts of northern Virginia) recently presented Broadway, Burlesque, Beer, Breakfast at the Yellow Sign Theatre space on Charles Street, a one night only engagement. TKB’s production was interesting, bawdy, sometimes uproariously funny, and occasionally disappointingly repetitive. The explosion of burlesque in this city has been incredible. Burlesque is one of those things that, in Baltimore, has grown from small roots to a massive tree of popularity (partially, perhaps, aided by a Buzzfeed pick up of local photographer Sean Scheidt’s incredible photo essay exploring the before-and-after transformation of several local lady personalities) among late-night Natty-Boh drinking crowds packed into sweaty one-room venues with hipster bartenders smoking e-cigs instead of serving even more Natty-Bohs. #Yawn. I can’t tell you how I feel about burlesque in general, really, as I’ve not been exposed to a large enough amount of it to have a solid opinion on the subject as a whole. My limited exposure (see what I did there?) to the genre won’t facilitate a critique on par with someone more in with the burlesque circuit. However, I can judge it as a work of theatrical entertainment: which of course – it was!
First things first. There are a lot of titties. Titties, butts, boobies, crotch grabs, and giggles. It’s an absolute BLAST! Twisted Knickers, spearheaded by Tapitha Kix and Hot Todd Lincoln, doesn’t really have a core company of regular performers. Instead, they pool regional talent into themed review-style shows with a duo of hosts. The night I went, it was Hot Todd Lincoln (a fully dressed male in our predominantly titty possessing cast) as “MC” with Twiggy Steele the “Stage Kitten.” For those of you new to the burlesque world, the cabaret-like show is hosted by the MC. The Stage Kitten is responsible for cleaning up all the shed clothing and prop items the scantily clad ladies leave behind. Historically, the MC and Stage Kitten are horrid to each other, or overtly sexual. Fabulous. Hot Todd Lincoln was a lovely host. He kept the evening and the comedy flowing. Twiggy Steele poked and prodded at Lincoln’s jokes (and Lincoln himself!), keeping the evening balanced. Also – each performer picks a stage name that follows them for the duration of their pasty-parading career. In my mind, this name is selected for the performer during a ritual performed by a hermaphroditic witch doctor from Canada in a deep, dark, cave somewhere near that gold-colored shit-processing plant in Dundalk. A little far-fetched, true, but it works for me. The names that graced Yellow Sign Theatre’s stage seemed more like they were selected from the leftovers of a bad Scrabble competition. I truly don’t know how they come up with their tricksy, cutesy names, but I love ’em. And we’re moving on with this review.
Tapitha put together a talented team of ladies shedding their sheers. There were a couple of true performance stand-outs. Cherie Sweetbottom’s rendition of Dr. Frankenfurter’s “Sweet Transvestite” was one, I totally dug the titty reveal at the end. Surprise! Sunny Sighed and Bal’d Lightning did a totally weird tribute to “Gypsy” and damn can Sunny Sighed sing. Bal’d Lightning was a welcome male presence on the stage, even if his cock was sock-encased and we never got a clear face shot. Rachel Symoné’s hula-hooping tribute to “Chicago” was pretty kick-ass. Overall, the show was entertaining and interesting to behold but I longed for something more theatrical than…well… ladies finding somewhat creative ways in which to remove articles of clothing. It was all kinda the same lady after lady, and I really wished for the unexpected. I will say that my absolute favorite aspect of the evening was the body diversity on display. I saw some lovely curves right alongside skinny-minnies. It was wonderful to see the celebration of the female body in so many beautiful forms.
The Bottom Line: Broadway, Burlesque, Beer, Breakfast was fun, well curated, and distinctly Baltimore. I loved the body diversity and the host’s energy, but found myself yearning for some sheer insanity on the stage with similar diversity in performance. I’m excited to see where this company goes and how their future unfolds. Keep your eyes peeled for these talented movers and shakers! Cheers to Tapitha and her team for their tribute to Broadway in Baltimore. (And double kudos to the cocktails by April! The girl can make a drink!)
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