Moments before the Cameo Theatre’s Not Too Blue Burlesque begins, Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money” played while a few of the Cameo’s B-Girls gulped down margaritas and ran to the backstage to prepare for a late night of stripping and often-cheesy skits. As
11:10 p.m. hit, a crowd of 20 or so men and women with drinks in hand prepared themselves for an almost MA-rated strip show.
Now, I won’t be too harsh on the show since Cameo Theatre owner Jim Zaccaria informed me before the purple curtains opened that the performances were still in preview sessions. However, it doesn’t take too much practice to successfully shake one’s ass to “I Touch Myself.”
Since Not Too Blue Burlesque’s SA premiere two years ago, he admits that “`The Cameo Theatre is` kind of rusty on the late shows.” The show starts less than an hour after the close of Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical and some theater attendees hang out to catch a peak of the B-Girls for a discounted rate. Also, you’ll find a fair amount of folks taking advantage of the Cameo’s full-service bar.
The show began with a shadow dance that was a bit indistinct, but sound-light designer Ricky Holdman regained his footing in a later shadow dance that was spot-on. There were also a few mic issues throughout the show, but Joel Settles (of sketch group Comedia A Go-Go), who served as master of ceremonies, handled the situation with aplomb (even if a few Cameo staffers shouted out from the bar, “Turn the mic on, dumbass”).
Following the dance, local comedian Jay Whitecotton did a short set about women with saddlebacks referring to their flabby backsides as “folded packs of sausage.” Whitecotton was hit-and-miss, but overall he kept the crowd lively with his enthusiasm and his jokes about chicas locas.
Then the B-girls finally hit the stage … and not a moment too soon. Four of the ladies skipped out to a Michael Bublé version of “Come Fly with Me” wearing white go-go boots — they looked like they were just having a fun time, missing a few steps but shrugging it off. The crowd didn’t mind one bit.
Settles presented two video shorts during the show — one was “The Real Fiesta,” a mockumentary of Fiesta 2005, spotlighting the usual party-going crowds: the underage, the drunk, and, of course, gang members (and in some cases a combination of the three). Later in the evening, he screened the Comedia A Go-Go skit “Mojados Guapos” (my absolute favorite skit from the sketch-comedy gang).
As the night continued on, the B-Girls’ confidence built and they continued to impress, but they hit a sour note with their “Paralyzer” bit — the show could have done without a dance number to the Finger Eleven song. The dancers borrowed a few moves from the music video but added a sexy twist … it wasn’t enough to make me forget the horrible song they were dancing to.
B-Girl Ashley (who serves as one-half of the Burlesque’s choreography duo) required audience participation for her rendition of “Whatever Lola Wants” — she brought out a man from the audience who guarded his beer with his life even as she grabbed his head and pressed it against her bosoms. Vicki Veil, the B-Girls other choreography gal, did the typical nerd routine with “I Touch Myself” — later ditching the dorky duds — but had a little trouble unzipping herself … or was it part of the act? If so, you totally got me, Vicki.
Suki Jones turned in a standout performance to Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire.” She danced around the stage wearing an eye-popping red corset (I’m sure the guys were poppin’ something too when she crossed the stage), banging the hell out of a tambourine as she skipped on stage. Jones was the best dancer of the B-Girls, a complete natural onstage — even after wowing the crowd when she ditched the corset and stood onstage wearing panties and gold booby tassels.
I enjoyed the classiness of the minor peep show Not Too Blue Burlesque presented to the audience. Singing, dancing, jokes ... not exactly a throwback to the 1920s’ cheeky shows, but it’ll undoubtedly please today’s crowds. Once all the kinks are worked out of the dance routines (and the jokes, too) the show should be good to go for bigger and much rowdier audiences. All in all, I’d give it a possible three out of five booby tassels — not too titillating, but titillating nonetheless. •
Not Too Blue
10:45pm Fri & Sat
Through May 4
1123 E Commcerce