Finucane and Smith's Glory Box

The Burlesque Hour. The Street Theatre. 28 Nov 2012

The Street Theatre got one hellava makeover Thursday night, being transformed into a sumptuous den of delights and depravity in preparation for Moira Finucane and Jackie Smith’s latest offering of Glory Box, as part of The Burlesque Hour series.

Inspired by an avant-garde night club in Southern China some years ago, the concept of The Burlesque Hour was to present to audiences a provocative and subversive variety show that pushes the envelope. This mission was accomplished, and then some.

Eight years later The Burlesque Hour continues to bend minds, as was such with our capital’s locals who felt so inspired and liberated that they jumped from their seats to give a spirited performance of their own at the show’s end.

Starring the striking Finucane herself, alongside Maude Davey (who also appeared in Finucane and Smith’s gothic drama, The Flood, earlier this year), Holly Durant, Anna Lumb and Paul Cordeiro, Glory Box really does transport the already shocking-by-nature art of burlesque to a whole new dimension.

Taking what are now quite well established entertainment forms such as cabaret, circus, drag, showgirl routines and chanson, each performer has literally stripped these back and created exotic and awe-inspiring new Franken-routines in their place.

Finucane most definitely provides the shock value for the night with her somewhat deranged and nightmarish balloon pop, and absurdly captivating literary gothic live art. Davey, in contrast, was quite the charming crowd pleaser, warming the audience up with her brassy cabaret hijinks, then mesmerising them with a surreal and haunting number featuring a satyr holding her bleeding heart in her hand.

Looking all sweetness and light in their cheruby ballet outfits at the outset, Durant and Lumb shattered this illusion early on in the piece when their act turned degenerate; both showcasing a vast array of talents between them.

The lovely Durant sang and danced with every ounce of her body, dazzling all with her glamourous showgirl costumes, and technical finesse. Lumb on the other hand displayed some of the most impressive and visually spectacular circus tricks you may well ever lay your eyes on – if only for the fact that she performed trapeze, a mind-boggling balancing act and multiple hula hooping in glittery platform shoes.

Being the only male in the production, Cordeiro gave reprieve from the intensity of the rest of the show by doing an adorable, energetic strip tease of sorts with stuffed toys and kicking off the finale dance.

The show has a slick pace overall and ran in quick succession, creating a highly charged atmosphere that is also visually rich and expressive thanks to some sophisticated lighting by Marko Respondeck.

However, mindful of not neglecting the spectators, the cast also took the time to keep the audience on its toes, with no one safe from the antics regularly spilling over from the stage.

Experiencing Glory Box is a little like falling down the rabbit hole and landing in the strange and curious Wonderland – but what an adventure! It is sure to get you in the mood for some fun, and so an ideal show to start the silly season with.

Deborah Hawke

When: 28 Nov to 8 Dec
Where: The Street Theatre