Space: The Final Frontier. It is time to buckle in, hold onto your tentacles, and boldly go where no man has dared to go at Artscape 2016: aboard Starship Yellow Sign and into the vastly unexplored celestial spaces that is Burlesque Performance. Returning to their home planet of Yellow Sign Theatre, Twisted Knickers Burlesque arrived on the spacy scene with Heavenly Bodies, a show beyond the wildest imagination of even the most interplanetary dreamers! With performances featuring Darth Vader, Tribbles, Professor X— just to name a few— and special guest appearances by Rangor the man-ape and Commander Marcoot the Low-Hanging Fruit, it was an out-of-this-world experience for all.
Fully outfitted to Artscape’s 2016 theme of space, Twisted Knickers Burlesque spared no detail when it came to making sure they were spacy. This included the troupe’s regular emcee, Hot Todd Lincoln, taking on the role and costume of Commander Lincoln, but not before a fantastically entertaining “safety video” complete with boarding instructions for Starship Yellow Sign from the talented and tentacle Tari Calamari who then appeared live in person to ‘Stage Kitten’ the first act of the evening’s show. Commander Lincoln, who is known for his dreadful puns and deadpan humor when hosting, did not disappoint in the least when it came to these well-recognized hallmarks. Integrating these comical tactics into space jargon, it was no wonder he quickly found himself in a chokehold at the hands of Darth Vader as the first act got underway. Commander Lincoln, who is also known for his sideshow tricks, put on a rope escape in the middle of the show and was well-received among the audience. The experience was appropriately Shatnerized by Lincoln, which made the entire evening feel particularly trekkie.
The Imperial March welcomed the evening’s first performer— Rev. Valentine— who not only throttle-choked Commander Lincoln, as mentioned, but engaged the audience in a wildly vivacious spaced-out strip tease that involved going from Dark Side Diva to Yoda-Clad sex icon by the time routine came to a close. Noted for her intense use of body language, the good Rev. carries a strong presence with her when on the stage, relying heavily on body-to-beat ratio when it comes to moving with the music.
In addition to being the evening’s opening act, Valentine closed the show with an iconic salute to space aliens in a routine called “The Trouble with Tribbles.” Leaning more toward the vein of comedy in this seductive tease, Valentine appeared in the iconic yellow Star Trek outfit, only to discover that she was infested with tribbles, making it absolutely necessary to get out of her commanding uniform as quickly as possible. Valentine showcased great versatility in this routine by comparison to the one that she used to open the show, relying much more heavily on comedic gestures and vividly expressive facial moves to make the humor of this piece work.
Show producer and troupe founder Tapitha Kix followed Valentine’s initial act with her “tapping tease” routine which featured Kix’ signature dance move of performing tap-dance while in ballet pointe— a rare ability that only a handful of dancers possess in the world. Clad in extraterrestrial green, Kix turned up the heat in space with serious alien attitude and paid a subtle homage to the oldie but goodie Mars Needs Women. Showcasing her natural dancer’s talent, in addition to her highly specialized tap-on-pointe ability, Kix had the audience roaring and calling for more with her seductive stripping skills and decadant dance routine.
Kix was featured again in the second act of the show in a very different vein of space and science fiction. Appearing as a royal ambassador emperor and decked to the nines accordingly, there was a slowly seductive tease that reminded the audience that whoever rules the spice rules the universe, overlaid to spoken words from Dune. This, however, was quickly turned on its arse and transformed into a stellar and stunning dance routine, which again put Kix’ multiple levels of dance training and talent on display as the iconic Spice Girls’ song “Spice Up Your Life” hit the speakers and Tapitha Kix hit the go-button on her dancing. Loaded with enthusiasm and raw energy, Kix had the audience singing and cheering along throughout the duration of the number.
A wildly seductive act, which opened the second half of the evening’s performance, was presented by the delectably delightful Jacqueline Boxx, a newcomer to the ranks of Twisted Knickers. Sultry, seductive, and downright sexy, Miss Dis-abili-tease, Jacqueline Boxx presented herself as Professor X and wowed the crowd with her routine. Intimate and extravagant, Boxx’ performance was inspiring as she flawlessly incorporated her wheelchair into her presentation, serving up serious sexy face and gasp-worthy moves throughout the entire number.
A stage kitten for the second act and a performer for the first, Cheeki Ho gave the audience a real thrill with her extra-terrestrial performance. ET was not too far from Ho’s mind when she set to designing her costume, mask, and ‘special effect’ for her routine and the audience was treated to a scintillating tease with the iconic glowing finger fondly recalled from the film. Sensually performed to “I’ll Be There”, Ho kept the audience’s attention from start to finish of her number and proved that “ET” ought to stand for extra tantalizing.
Furthering the space exploration, Fanny Rouge found inspiration in the obscure Japanese cartoon Ghost in the Shell. Performing as a super sexy cyborg, Rouge utilized spatial relations and floor-to-upright ratios to entreat the audience to her captivating cyber-routine. Surreal and jarring movements not unlike that of a mechanical being were worked into the performance as Rouge worked her body all over the floor, making this number feel particularly artistic and completely fitting for the overall concept of the show.
Rogue took stripping in reverse for the second act in an utterly hysterical routine featuring a life-size stuffed Zapp Brannigan doll and herself took the stage as Leela from Futurama. Starting in pasties and little else, Rogue worked an excellent gimmick for reverse teasing as she dressed in Leela’s iconic garb— boots, a white singlet, and black full-legged pants. Doing the entire routine with disdainful disgust on her face every time she looked at the Zapp doll— and through a hand-crafted mask to make Leela look perfectly cyclops— Rouge had the audience laughing and enjoying themselves as the “10 Steps to Love a Woman” by Zapp Brannigan was narrated during the performance.
Strong and capable, Tempete La Coeur was the perfect person to close out Heavenly Bodies’ first act by premiering a new routine that melded the wild west and space the way only Firefly can. The temptress in a teacup donned the personality of Inara and showed the house what it means to be a master of the seductive arts. Delivering a slow, smoldering tease, which quickly upped its tempo once the cowgirl in Inara came out to play, La Coeur owned the stage and had the whole house howling their pleasures to see the glittery red underthings Inara wore to play in.
Finding a different flavor of space to taste, La Coeur was featured in the show’s second half with a sketch inspired by Blade Runner. Introduced as “Pris” who in the film was introduced as a “basic pleasure model” borg-bot, La Coeur showed the audience all of the kinks which had yet to be worked out of her programing. Seductively sensual and almost sinful in her slow movements and scintillating strip-tease, La Coeur settled into twitchy robot jitters to simulate pleasure and had the audience going wild over her oh-so-sensual balloon-blowing bit.
A night to remember with a few spaced-out surprises thrown into the mix, including a glow-in-the-dark Uranus, Heavenly Bodies was exceptionally well received, and Twisted Knickers Burlesque settled back into their native planet as if they’d never left home.
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