Saturday, 02 July 2022

Variety is the spice of life for burlesque foursome

Variety is the spice of life for burlesque foursome

DANCERS from one of one of London’s top burlesque troupes are coming to the Kenton Theatre next weekend for what is billed as the first show of its kind at the venue in 100 years.

The Folly Mixtures have been hailed by one awestruck critic as “like Charlie’s Angels but with lust, bust and 100 per cent more sex appeal”.

Founded seven years ago by four friends, the group now numbers 16 dancers in total — and is going from strength to strength as the popularity of burlesque continues to grow.

Recent years have seen the troupe perform at such prestigious events as Bestival, the Goodwood Revival, Time Out’s Big Burlesque Debate and Elton John’s Aids Foundation Ball.

They have also toured Italy, Germany and Denmark and staged shows in Amsterdam and Jersey, with members now appearing throughout the UK as part of a touring theatre show called An Evening of Burlesque.

One TripAdvisor user who saw them perform at the Hippodrome Casino in London’s Leicester Square wrote: “The Folly Mixtures’ show was fun with so much energy and lovely costumes. We cheered all night long and the audience all seemed to have as much fun as we did.”

On Saturday, May 27, four members of the group — appearing under the name The Burlesque Dance Troupe — are staging a special show called “Elegance Sparkles” at the Kenton.

Starting at 8pm , the show will run for 80 minutes, including an interval, at the theatre in New Street.

Among those strutting their stuff will be Sarah-Louise Twist — a founding member of the Folly Mixtures who appears under the stage name Ooh La Lou.

She said: “We’ve also got Ella Boo, who’s another member of the Folly Mixtures, and she’s going to be bringing her ‘balloon pop’ act, which is very sweet — so the audience might get to pop one of her balloons if they’re very lucky!

“Then we’ve got a fan dancer called Coeur De Plume and there’s one more called Angie Sylvia, and she’s going to be our fire performer for the evening.”

Hot stuff, by the sounds of it. The four Folly Mixtures will also be joined for the evening by a compère by the name of Delores Deluxe.

Sarah-Lou said: “Delores is the MC. She’ll interact with the audience and get everybody rooting and cheering along, sing a couple of songs and kind of just bring the whole show together. She does some magic as well — she does some comedy magic — so there will be a little bit of variety in the show as well.”

That element of variety is of key importance to Sarah-Lou, who trained in musical theatre at the Italia Conti stage school before working on a cruise ship and abroad and appearing in West End musicals such as Cats and The Blues Brothers.

As she tells it, her entrée into the world of burlesque came a little over 10 years ago when she was in between jobs and looking at different potential auditions.

“I saw this little advert for an audition for a burlesque troupe called The Hurly Burly Show. I didn’t really know much about it but I’d heard of burlesque and I thought, ‘That sounds quite good fun, I’ll just go along’ — and I ended up being taken as the new member of this troupe.

“The Hurly Burly Show actually got picked up by Kylie Minogue’s creative team — the musical director of it — and we took it into the West End. And I went to Australia with it. So that’s how I kind of fell into it.”

Three years later, it was time to
co-found the Folly Mixtures.

“It was set up and founded by four friends who wanted to put on shows — who didn’t have any kind of very big plans for it. We just really loved doing burlesque and the whole feel behind it was that we wanted a troupe of girls where everybody was allowed to be themselves.

“As opposed to if you go to Paris and you watch the Moulin Rouge or Crazy Horse, the girls are beautiful and they’re funny but they do all look identical.

“We wanted to do something where the audience — and especially the women in the audience — can watch a show and pick their favourites, you know? So you’ve got different body shapes, different hair colours, different personalities, different heights on stage.

“The way I always describe it is it’s like when you get a giant chocolate selection box and they’re all delicious, they’re all lovely, but everyone has their favourites. Someone might like the toffee one, someone might like the strawberry cream one — and that’s what the troupe should always be like for me. You should always get a variety of girls and personalities and different acts in the show.

“The nice thing about it is that with burlesque there’s not really any rules. So you choose your music and, you know, it can be absolutely anything you want. I do an act as a giant Barbie girl, but then the next night I might do something very classic with you, like say the fan dance. So it can be anything you want, which is quite refreshing, and you can be really creative with it.”

Tickets for “Elegance Sparkles” are £38 and can be booked by visiting or calling (01491) 575698. With some partial nudity, the show is for over-18s only.

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