As part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival the shining star of burlesque herself Dita Von Teese came down under to perform for the first time ever. After seeing the spectacular spectacle that was Strip, Strip, Hooray! you might as well call me Kristen Von Sparkle because I’m officially buying some sparkly nipple tassels and running away with the
Master of ceremonies (and gender mystery) Murray Hill stirred the crowd into a cheering roar from the moment he strode onstage, making jokes about everything from sex, theatre and Adelaide, while always speaking highly of the incredulous acts. He introduced Dita to the stage, and the Adelaide Festival Theatre screamed loud enough to blow the roof off the place.
Dita began the show with her signature martini glass dance, entering in a sparkling silver gown trimmed with fur that moved like smoke when she gracefully drifted around the stage. Every step she took oozed with elegance and glamour, whether it be to effortlessly remove her corset, fluff her feather boa or climb into a giant, Swarovski-crusted martini glass. There were no awkward angles or moves with Dita; everything flowed and curved like her perfect hourglass figure.
In every act Dita was flanked by two muscly, gods of humanity who go by the mortal names of Alex Palinski and Elio Martinez. They formed her Vontourage, and were meticulously selected from 250,000 other auditions by Dita herself. They truly were the best of the best, and assisted Dita with the grandeur and confidence required when you’re onstage with such a star.
Natasha Estrada followed Dita, performing a bright, latin-style dance that had our eyes whirling around with her in a tornado of colours and glitter.
Catherine D’Lish swept us away with a dark and mysterious song that saw her climbing around a giant spiderweb, performing crazy acts of flexibility in dim, smoky lighting. It was sexy with just enough darkness to make us reminisce on curious things we saw deep in German clubs.
Ginger Valentine was a lovely girl from Texas who entranced us with her dusty pink sheer nightgown and won our hearts with her mid-western charm and crazy ability to do the splits while twirling her nipple tassels.
To finish up the first half, Dita returned to the stage to bring everyone’s cowgirl fantasies to life. I never thought I would see someone perform the role of a cowgirl with such grace and sparkle, but here she was strutting around stage and twirling her bedazzled guns. She rode a mechanical bull with as much ease as dolphin would ride the waves, and since the only people I’ve seen ride mechanical bulls are the pub crawlers at The Woolshed, it was safe to say she brought bull-riding to the next level.
Opening the second half Dita performed her exotic bird routine, which saw her swinging in a gilded birdcage that later became a pouring shower and prancing around with exotic feather fans that hypnotised the audience with their twirling and flowing.
Perle Noire was a vibrant New Orleans girl with a little bit of sass and a whole lot of 20s glamour. She performed a sexy version of the Charleston (who even knew you could do that) with great gusto and energy that has us reminiscing of Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.
Jett Adore was Dita’s only male burlesque performer, and with so many incredible female burlesque performers on the bill it was going to be hard to match them. It was with great east however that Jett stole the show, bringing a hilarious Zorro performance to the stage where he used a sword to slash away his clothing and a large, bedazzled cape to spin and twirl his way to nudity.
And now for Murray Hill’s personal cabaret competition. Three males were randomly selected from the audience and challenged to a dance-off. What nobody expected to happen, least of all Murray himself, was a Ryan Gosling look-alike would rock up and pull a serious Magic Mike onstage, blowing everyones minds and stealing hearts left, right and centre. Mr Ryan Gosling look-alike, if you’re reading this, please accept our business card. It has our number on it. For business purposes only, of course.
For the grand finale, the curtain was pulled back and between heavy sheets of smoke Dita rested on an oriental-style bed in a makeshift opium den. It was at this moment that I realised my life would never be complete without a kimono made from crystals. As Dita pieced apart the shimmering kimono and danced around the bed, the last song was, of course, nothing short of spectacular, and edged towards being darker and more mysterious than her other performances.
I can honestly say Dita Von Teese’s Strip, Strip, Hooray! was one of the best performances I’ve seen in my life, and it surpasses all expectations. Dita is truly the reigning Queen of burlesque, and she lives up to the graceful, feminine, classic woman she is portrayed to be.