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!)

SECOND OPINION?

Email The Bad Oracle at emailthebadoracle@gmail.com

Like The Bad Oracle on Facebook

Follow The Bad Oracle on Twitter (@thebadoracle)

Advertisements

11 comments

  • This was an incredibly diverse show. There was hooping, singing, glasswalking, male bellydance, tap dancing en pointe. In what way was diversity lacking? How could the show have possibly been anymore diverse and still be a burlesque/variety show?

    • My goodness. I’m a bit skeered now that TBO is on this reviewer’s bad side! Jk-I’m glad TBO is encouraging writing and discourse, natch. A few answers to the questions in your rebuttal (I like the cursing, fucks a’million!)

      We are also real people. Even Achilles. He is not a sex-robot, as many believe.

      Pictures – I decide the picture to use, Achilles does not. When we first make contact with a company to review, we ask them to send us anything about the show that might aid in reviewing it. Tapitha didn’t send us pictures to accompany the article and there are none on the Broadway, Burlesque, Beer, Breakfast Facebook page. It is our policy that we do not, for several reasons, take personal pictures at any show (besides the fact that I would get one million e-mails about how people are unhappy about how their images look, we don’t have the right to take pictures at shows – really, no one who is not officially connected with the show does, designers and playwrights and stages and directors don’t like it). We also do not troll for pictures on personal Facebook pages or social media and use them without permission (yikes). I went with the official promo shot on the Knickers website, the only photo that appears there, which does not include any information about the people in it or the photographer.

      My bigger concern, though, is that you seem to think that AF wrote a negative review. I’m so confused! I’m looking at a review with these pull quotes:

      “There are a lot of titties. Titties, butts, boobies, crotch grabs, and giggles. It’s an absolute BLAST!”

      “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.”

      “Tapitha put together a talented team of ladies shedding their sheers.”

      “I totally dug the titty reveal at the end. Surprise!”

      “…damn can Sunny Sighed sing.”

      “Bal’d Lightning was a welcome male presence on the stage…”

      “Rachel Symoné’s hula-hooping tribute to “Chicago” was pretty kick-ass.”

      “Overall, the show was entertaining and interesting to behold…”

      “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.”

      “Broadway, Burlesque, Beer, Breakfast was fun, well curated, and distinctly Baltimore.”

      ” 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.”

      I know it can be tempting to take the one or two things a reviewer (and audience member) didn’t enjoy as much and really zero in on them, but I found that this was a really positive review and I’m bummed and confused that this company didn’t think so, but, so it goes.

      Thanks for reading! – TBO

    • Wait, so, out of a review that was about 97% POSITIVE, you’re going to get all riled up about the 3% that was very mildly negative? And… you’re upset that they used an actual promotional shot for the company, rather than swiping a photo off of someone’s random Facebook page? Reviewers use images chosen by the COMPANY, so as not to misrepresent them with terrible cell phone photos (which, also, most theatrical performances are rather down on taking pictures during shows, so that’s an odd suggestion.) You want them to use a better picture? Send a better picture as part of a press packet, like every other company does when a reviewer comes. Reviewers shouldn’t have the specifically ask for a press packet, much less for obvious and specific parts of it like a photo.

      And you’re complaining about Achilles saying “There are a lot of titties. Titties, butts, boobies, crotch grabs, and giggles.” As though he was complaining, when he immediately followed it up with “It’s an absolute BLAST!” That’s like… I don’t know, someone reviewing West Side Story and saying “There’s a lot of singing, dancing, street swagger, longing looks, and tough guy bravado. It was AMAZING!” and then getting a response like “Um, YEAH, there’s singing and dancing, it’s a musical, GOD.” I guess I just… don’t see what the problem is?

      And it seems your main complaint is about the two lone sentences that point out a very mild negative observation, surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of incredibly positive words. You can feel free to disagree, but to get all worked up about that is pretty much the height of thin-skinned unprofessionalism.

      In short, this review made me really, really want to see a Twisted Knickers show. TBO and Achilles’ past reviews have shown me that I can trust their opinion, so a positive review (like this one) from them, about a show that sounds like fun and right up my alley as someone who loves burlesque, was a great selling point. Your incredibly unprofessional and overblown response to the mildest of criticisms, though? That makes me not want to see anything you have to offer.

  • Actually — you never asked me for a picture. I would have gladly sent you a pic of one of our performers that night. Here is your email to me word for word:

    Afternoon,

    The Bad Oracle here-I run a little website that reviews small theater in Baltimore city (www.thebadoracle.com). Just checking in to let you know (in case you use reviews for publicity or like to keep track of them) that we’ll be reviewing Broadway, Burlesque, Beer and Breakfast . The reviewer will attend the show on Saturday, September 6th.

    If you have anything special you’d like us to know prior to reviewing the show or offer press passes, please just e-mail me back at this address.

    Thanks!
    The Bad Oracle
    http://www.thebadoracle.com

    I don’t see a request for a photo. Do you? I offered you press passes and reserved seating — as I do for any press inquiry. Most press who want a photo, specifically ask for a photo. If not, I don’t send one. I figure they will not be using a picture or would prefer to take their own.

    For the record — I didn’t think it was a bad review. You had many kind words to say. I was very happy that you took the time to review us. That’s why I posted it to my page. My only question was that I found it odd that you said that there was a lack of diversity of acts. I think compared to most burlesque shows — which are literally nothing but pretty ladies taking off their clothes in fancy outfits, we were pretty diverse. Our show had standard burlesque, glass walking, a male belly dancer, tap dancers, pointe tap (which by the way — I am the ONLY person in burlesque who does this) and a musical duo. That to me is a lot of variety.

    Honest question here — and I am asking this sincerely, because I truly want to know your opinion: How could the show be more diverse to you? You said there was something — lacking. What was that thing? Part of my job as producer is to create shows that people will love, and not just by our fans who will love us no matter what we do. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Again, thank you for your interest in what we do and taking the time to come to our show and review us, and for your kind words and honest criticism. There are a lot of great things happening in Baltimore theater, so I am grateful that you chose to spend your Saturday with us.

    Tapitha Kix
    Producer, Twisted Knickers Burlesque

    • Tapitha, honestly, I feel a little like I’m going down the rabbit hole on this picture thing. Stages usually just send me the pictures they want me to use as part of their press packet or pre-show info, or they make pictures publicly available for use via their FB event page or website. If they don’t, I use what I can find via those sources (in this case, your website) and if the company is unhappy, they just let me know and I change it to whatever they would prefer. I didn’t say you refused to provide me a picture when I asked, I said that you didn’t give me any alternative one to use. And still have not. If you want me to use another picture, send it and I will. Easy peasy.

  • Honestly, I didn’t care about the picture issue. Someone else brought that issue up. The photo is out there. You’re free to use it. Again, I personally thought it was a very positive review and was happy with it. I just want to know how you think we could bring more “diversity” of acts. As I continue to produce shows and book performers, I would love a good outside opinion from someone not to close to the scene.

    Thanks again,

    Tapitha

    • Not to fight TBO’s battles for her, but what photo do you mean that’s “out there”? There’s nothing about the event on your company’s website at all, there are no pictures besides the poster on the event’s Facebook page, and I can’t find any pictures of the event anywhere via Google. I’m not sure how much more you could reasonably expect a person to do. This is part of the reason why companies tend to automatically provide press packets for reviewers, to avoid this type of issue.

  • Correction: ” … too close to the scene.”

  • Wow, I take one weekend off to try and find this hidden Burlesque naming witch doctor, and look what happens in my absence! Sheesh! Everybody calm the hell down (except you Oracle, you’re my boss, you do you hon :). I wrote “diversity in performance” and what I was trying to get at was the WAY the ladies took off their clothing, the actual PERFORMING part. A line in s a song.. a glove.. a line in a song.. a shoe.. a line in a song… some knickers… etc. etc. etc. until. WHAM- TITTIES SHAKING ALL THE THINGS! Perhaps by saying “diversity in performance” it was interpreted that I thought the show was not diverse, this is not the case as indicated by other statements in my (very positive) review.

    While there was DIVERSITY in so many forms on stage, it was kinda like hearing the same scene of Shakespeare over and over again, done with different costumes and props. I understand that this is how Burlesque works. This is NOT a bad thing. This was just something that I thought could be different from a theatrical perspective. I once saw a Burlesque lady covered in peanut butter, use a squeegee and white bread to wipe it all off… that was pretty freaking cool! I don’t have an answer, perhaps I’m merely posing a question to be pondered by the Burlesque community. Perhaps you can ignore me and re-read the review and see how much I loved this show instead of picking out the minor negative things. (thanks Oracle for the bringing the big-guns!) Sheesh, how much pandering do I have to do to make somebody realize that they are doing great work. TK, a few things that could work better for you from a theatrical standpoint: Better lighting and a finished set (were those letters supposed to spell something?) first dear, but I know that is venue dependant and YST is limited. Perhaps a little timing direction. During your peer-review sessions, talk about the stanat points of each performance to see what air can be lifted in the scenes to keep the audience interested and the energy smoothly flowing. You’re doing great work hon, this is not a negative review on you.

    Stacy: PS: who is the sick-fuck taking cell phone pictures at a Burlesque show. That’s just wrong babe, sorry, there’s no way around that.

  • Thanks for the input! I really did like the review, and I’m always looking for ways to improve.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s