Monday, 19 April 2010

London Burlesque Week

Tomorrow is the opening night of London Burlesque Week, a global event that will feature everything from traditional 1940s burlesque (Annette Betty) to a Jesus Christ striptease (Paco Fish). As burlesque king Chaz Royal, the festival's founder says, "I have everything from mambo performers to outer space, underwater and winter themes. We'll take you on a round-the-world tour in 120 minutes."

I'm really intrigued to see how burlesque is interpreted globally and to see how burlesque is evolving. Now Topshop does spanking paddles and Dita Von Teese is the face of Wonderbra, burlesque has become arguably mainstream. Where will it go next I wonder?

The recession has had something of a positive effect on the burlesque scene, with audiences who would normally go to the theatre and musicals, opting for a more affordable alternative in burlesque and cabaret. And likewise, at the other end of the market, people are demanding more of an experience when they go out. I think entertainment is becoming more about highs (burlesque, rollerdiscos) and lows (old man pubs, poker nites in).

I think what things like London Burlesque Festival, along with La Clique (West End burlesque show) and Volupte (1940s supper club) and its ilk are doing successfully is packaging up burlesque as a big nite out, proper entertainment you can charge money for, as opposed to an underground club nite that always feels a bit pricey compared to the pub.

Burlesque is no longer being treated as just striptease but is fusing with cabaret, theatre, comedy, and circus. As it mainstreams (or becomes more accessible), it's becoming a broader form of entertainment and what I think is interesting, is that it's being treated more laterally. I think this is what could be a good opportunity for brands who want to get involved.

Will be reporting back later in the week on Burlesque Week.