By Leif Conti-Groome
On Valentines Day, I had the pleasure of taking my girlfriend out to see a very entertaining night of burlesque at the Gladstone Hotel. Two of the most popular troupes, Skin Tight Outta Sight and BoylesqueTO, presented Be Mein Valentine, a night full of song and tease inspired by the cabarets of 1920s Germany.
Our three hosts for the evening joked back and forth with their over-the-top German characters and accents and held the show together between performances. Ginger Darling and Bologna Wry, the usual hosts from BoylesqueTO, were joined by Skin Tight’s Sexy Mark Brown. Throughout the night, they proved that three is definitely not a crowd.
Mark Brown played de Deutsche-Mark, a naïve country boy who eventually gets corrupted by the Nazi-like, efficiency-obsessed Ginger and the oversexed artiste Bologna. Poor Deutsche-Mark is made to spank Bologna with a paddle and a frame of a heart to leave a love shaped mark on her rear.
The acts themselves were quite enjoyable. My personal favourite was a pair of numbers that happened within a soul-crushing office. Mark Brown, Foxy Finale and Mahogany Storm played the workers looking for something more while evil boss Honey B. Hind kept them in line. After being naughty once, the three are banished to the mailroom and tied to chairs. They start to process invisible envelopes and make a rhythmic song from stuffing, licking and stamping the letters. Soon, the workers’ mimed actions became sexualized and they once again were overpowered by lust.
After seeing numbers like the office ones, I could tell that the members from Skin Tight and Boylesque had become very comfortable with each other and used this to create great group numbers. It was fitting that on the day of love you could feel the love between the two troupes.
Acts that didn’t contain crossovers were also very strong. BoylesqueTO had a great routine which included lederhosen, beer and blonde wigs. On the Skin Tight side, troupe founder Sauci Calla Horra did a seductive silhouette strip and newcomer Mena Von Fleisch performed a gothic interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood with the Bad Wolf appearing in puppet form.
To add variety to the night, Torontonian Jazz singer Terra Hazelton shared her lovely voice with the audience. Accompanying her was Alistair Christl and the Swingin’ Chandeliers band, who mainly join Skin Tight’s shows. Mrs. Hazelton’s rendition of a ‘50s song that featured a trip to the dentist with tons of sexual innuendoes had chuckles coming from every corner of the room.
Even with great acts and powerful singing, the most surprising part of Be Mein Valentine was its ability to offend. This was done in a lighthearted manner, so disgust was soon replaced by laughter. I don’t want to ruin the surprises, but I’m sure a few hints won’t hurt.
In one act, a date goes down the toilet as erotic eating of chili ends comes out the other end, and in the other, the song “Springtime for Hitler’”from the musical The Producers is highlighted by swastika pasties. And it wasn’t the female stormtrooper that was wearing them. That’s what makes a good burlesque show; the unexpected.
Burlesque shows in Toronto have very limited runs, often only one night. So, there are no show details to go along with the review, but be sure to keep your eyes open for other shows by Skin Tight Outta Sight and Boylesque.