Miss Burlesque NSW 2019 | Heated Highlights
by Miss Alyssa Kitt
Clad under one Opera cape and one fox fur stole, the Winter chill was present as I clicked my heels along the Redfern footpath towards The Giant Dwarf. Wearing my towering first runner up crown I walked past a bustling restaurant and witnessed a table of dining women’s jaw drop – that’s right – wearing your crown is a mandatory part of attending any State Final for the Miss Burlesque Australia winner’s club and tonight, we were about to welcome a new State winner into the fold – the question was on everybody’s lips – who would take the crown.
Inside the Redfern theatre, the sold-out audience took their sweet time taking their seats but once their well-dressed behinds were cushioned the lights go down and the whoops go up. Tash York slinks onto the stage to open the show with absinthe eyes and powerful vocals belting Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps.
The cheers are deafening. “Who will take this Muthafuckin crown?” Who indeed? When the NSW competitors were announced my first thought was – oh jeez Louise that’s the most intimidating lineup of professional performers I have ever seen in one State Final. After Sydney powerhouse pocket-rocket performers Kelly Ann Doll and Memphis Mae took over producing New South Wales last year the standard skyrocketed.
Red Carpet Parade
The audience was itching under their fur coats as the show kicked into gear. First up – the Red Carpet Parade. Diesel Darling, aka Danger Barbie takes a comedic spin on a simple maroon gown and white feather boa, with her bio reading that she repurposed this dress from her three month pregnant mother. Eva Devore is next – with luna pale skin, born under a glimmering moon, she is transcendent looking as though she has stepped one delicate foot off the Ziegfeld stage under the luminous arch of a crescent moon prop.
Natalya Alessi wears powder blue soft tulle, like a true burlesque ballerina in a dazzling sparkling corset. The Supermodel of burlesque Porcelain Alice is scintillating in red with a love heart cut out ass and a bio that reads, “Will go anywhere if you pay her.”
Like a dewdrop dripping from the clouds, Lou P Scarlett injects character plus into the Red Carpet Section with a sky blue ensemble and cloud parasol. Described as “Garbage Bag Glamour” Lou P looks as though she has stepped off the Broadway stage and brought a storm with her. Isla View appears in peacock green, this blonde bombshell solders with Anna Nicole Smith sex appeal – with the lick of the tongue and a roll of the shoulder, she has the audience saying, “I love you Isla View.”
Bettie Bang Bang wiggles on in a nude illusion dress looking like a feathered white dream. It is as though she has come off the Swan Lake stage and into a Marilyn Monroe film.
This section judges on charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent – but only up to the 1960s – or does it? For all the historical inspiration of the section, Diesel Darling begins with a bit of a shake-up. Appearing in Sally Rand grandeur, Diesel wields a massive set of tribute fans with technique that is truly. She’s a true master with the prop, however, the music she performs to is thoroughly modern. It’s clear that she is not here to fit into any box. As her fans light up with LEDs it’s clear that she’s not here for the rules – she’s here to entertain and the audience lap it up.
Eva Devore is peach perfection with a 1920s Charleston number. The audience claps along as she taps her chest like a tambourine and as the trombone groans she takes a magical spin and puts new meaning into the term quick-change. Her thigh-high kicks proves that she’s one hell of a dancer and a performer to be reckoned with in the Sydney scene.
Natalya Alessi’s body stands in complete stillness as she flutters under flickering of projector lights, her flutters come delicately to life on pointe shoes and my heart flutters. Like a music box ballerina come to life, I put my pen down and stare. I am completely transported back in time as she peels off a tiny final tutu and her muscular body flutters. She is perfection and this routine inspired by the first female dance director of the Follies, Albertina Rush and her dancers, is exactly what the traditional section is about.
My jaw hits the floor as Porcelain Alice appears in lengths of draping fabric and towering chandelier headdress. The opening silk vision looks as though she could be at the top of an elaborate Art Deco candelabra. Every inch of her is resplendent – her long tassels glimmer with timeless elegance as she performs a classic and confident serpentine, her fabric ever so softly dyed in delicate pink with blushing edges.
A heavy hum of some kind of vacuum drones backstage as Tash introduces Lou P Scarlett. It’s a comical audio setup to Lou P paying tribute to Sally Rand’s iconic bubble dance. We are, of course, expecting a very large balloon but instead the tiniest appears. Balloon after balloon appears until the grand final balloon! The number is a perfect and pretty parody combining Lou P’s purring personality and hitting all the grand Sally Rand Poses.
Isla View takes a tappa tappa tappa tease nod to Ann Miller and Bob Fosse – it’s too darn hot with some faster than fast feet. But throughout this number I can’t tear my eyes of Isla’s face – her expressions are reminiscent of the legends of burlesque. Her eyes glint with secrets that she knows and has maybe done dirty things! Bettie Bang Bang is like a Valentine’s Day doll come to like. She is the huffed breath of Marilyn meets the face of Lucille Ball. A classic hold no bares traditional strut and strip right out of the 1940s!
Onto the Unique section. Diesel Darling is pure poetry on long legs walking through Ipanema hips swaying like a samba. All peach fans and floral notes of Carmen Miranda until the Macarena banger begins. She kicks the crowd into a conga line which turns into a dance party reminiscent of Carnival onstage!
Thumps of music pump and a luminous light glowing in a papal procession through the audience. Eva Devore arrives as a ghostly apparition, a hedonistic hellion upon a wisp of smoke. Renaissance art meets fire and fury with some of the tidiest usage of backup dancers I’ve seen in MBA competition history. As she drips hot wax over her chest I think to myself, “Bow down Bitches!”
Natalya Alessi is breathtakingly enthralling and hypnotic she moves with all the silken spins and doe eyes – with clever quick releases and no need for gimmicks or tricks – just pure drop-dead dance perfection!
Porcelain Alice moves mechanically onto the stage like a malfunctioning doll to the flickering audio pops of one incredible remix of Rhapsody in Blue. Her stage presence is undeniable with stocking pulls for days. The routine culminates with the freakshow folie stapling stars to her body.
Lou P Scarlett delivers burly pop star with a crazy horse aesthetic atop the iconic lips. She is absurdist showgirl perfection in a fusion of fuscia and lucha libre. The number is camp and captivating, orgasmic and acrobatic, filthy and flirty. I basically just want to be Lou P when I grow up!
In possibly one of the most unique routines in MBA history, Isla View delivers a lecture on sex education. That’s right… a sexy lecture on sex education. Our bodies and brains are ready for ABCs as taught by Professor View. First up the five c’s – consent, contact, communication, clitoris and comfort. From the condom clad costume to the best audience interaction of the night, Isla delivers a dose of intelligently original burlesque rife with wit and one hell of a powerful message. With the c’s complete – next show we’ll learn all about the D!
The stage is set with a lamb… and Bettie Bang Bang busts on in boot scooting showgirl cowgirl higher the hair closer to God Dolly Parton glory. It’s butt cutout drama with wonderful narrative and all-American moves that would make Lenny Kravitz blush!
The show’s running super overtime but Tash York takes to the audience and busts some incredible improve tunes before the reigning Miss Burlesque NSW, Kael, performers her handover. It’s oldschool effortlessly perfect sizzle with musical precision from Kael and her unique tribal fusion bellydance style that put her on the map! And with that the results are in… delivered by Memphis and Kelly…
Miss Burlesque NSW 2nd runner up is Natalya Alessi. Miss Burlesque Sydney is Diesel Darling and the new Miss Burlesque NSW is Porcelain Alice. A lineup of Sydney’s elite performers atop an incredible show – one of the best in NSW history!