I think this is the fourth Heavenly Burlesque, and we in the crowd were of the opinion that it was the most slick. I missed last year’s Burlesque (48 Hours FilmFest), but clearly remember 2006, if not only because upon arrival at the Paramount I was ushered into the lift by two young ladies dressed as angels, who blindfolded me and kissed me gently on each cheek. Me? Titillated? Absolutely.

Once upstairs there was a Ivanja slapping her thigh with a whip, and various other bods about the place keeping the place both sexy, and edgy.

I attended this past Friday, and noted that this atmosphere was entirely missing this year, and was replaced instead with what can only be described as ‘annoying’ performances prior to the show. Yes, a nurse sans-brassiere with an oxygen mask on is slightly edgy, but it wasn’t sexy. She squealed waaay too often. Yes, an extremely well-cut bloke wearing something from the future world in 12 Monkeys was a little edgy, but was (after consultation) making no-one feel sexy. I’ll leave it there.

My next observation is that like its audience, Heavenly Burlesque has aged considerably. It has also become a little safer and more suburban. Every time I see one of these shows I wonder, what would this be like in Paris? And despite the sexy edginess of the shows preparation being undercooked, the show itself is probably much much closer to something you’d see in Sin City.

Take for example the 2006 show, which featured a dance routine by the Red Hot Bitches. I know this troupe are something of a Wellington icon, but their performance was awful. Cringe-worthy in fact. They’re a fun troupe, and have a distinct audience, but a burlesque is not it. Actually, it’s far from it.

This type of amateurism was absent. The performances were slick, some provocative, and some outright impressive. Lighting was put to good effect, the theatre itself was well-utilised, and while Vinyl Burns was fun, funny, and out of place, he kept the different acts hanging together well.

So, in short? They might need to up the ante on the warming up of the audience, but overall a professional and slick show.

Oh, and how about a little more Eva Strangelove!! One feather dance was not enough. Maybe the upcoming Auckland shows could feature more of her.