First, Ladies and Gentlemen, I must apologize for my absence. I feel as if I dropped off the face of the world a couple of months ago. Life happens, or so they say, but it does feel good to be back!
For those who have read my blog before, it will come as no surprise that my first review in months is of a Sinner Saint Burlesque show. Over the years I have had the opportunity to experience, and chronicle many of the adventures of this group of ladies. I have seen members come and go, and I have witnessed the troupe grow from an alliance of individual performers into the solid performance entity they are becoming today. That is to say, not only are the ladies of SSB, extremely talented as individuals, they are solid as an artistic team. They have grown from individual elements to full on Captain Planet. (Yes I was a wee one in the 90s.) Their most recent show proves it.
At first glance “The Hot Seat” may throw you for a loop. While SSB has long established a reputation for its themed shows, and this past year delved into the art of narrative driven shows, “The Hot Seat” takes these two to a new level. This is an entire show built around a chair. You read that correctly, “The Hot Seat” is an ecdysiastic spectacle built around a piece of furniture. I had no idea what to expect, but having seen it I only wish I had done so earlier. This review doesn’t give y’all much time to check it out, so read quick and get to The Noc Noc next Thursday (Oct 12th).
The narrative is spoken from the perspective of a humble burlesque prop, a curvy backed chair, painted silver and clearly marked by the SSB logo. At the beginning the audience is told about how ‘The Chair’ was found and brought into the group to fulfill various needs of the Sinner Saints. As the story progresses, we find out how the chair’s relationship with the troupe grew from humble prop, to coveted object, to confidant and sanctuary. We see ‘The Chair’ become a safe place for the Ladies to find support, experiment artistically and live out their wildest fantasies. We learn that the Chair is not just a simple piece of furniture, it is a “Hot Seat” that knows the Sinner Saints as intimately as any lover.
You might think that a story told from the perspective of a chair is a little odd, and at first glance you’d be right, but considering how many Pixar movies have told stories from the perspective of inanimate objects you should know that ‘odd’ often equates with artistic and entertainment gold.
Diva le Deviant, hostess and author of “The Hot Seat” gave voice to ‘the Chair’. In her strongest piece of narrative hosting to date, Diva was through the show sympathetic and sexy, funny and clever, and believe it or not, adorably innocent. Her commitment to the perspective of her character, kept her focused and the audience rapt. Her jokes were cleverly executed and her attachment to the dancers ‘using her’ was clear and believable. She did not simple tell us her story, she drew us in and allowed us to share it.
The Sinner Saints themselves brought some serious game to the table. As was expected their acts revolved around, and used ‘the Chair’. Each of the Ladies rocked at least one new piece, and the major group number was an amazing twist on one of their classic acts. For those familiar with SSB material, “Meine Chair” will rock your world.
Lady Tatas provided both class and comedy. In her first act she offered the audience a classic tease, and had the honor of being the first derriere to grace the ‘Hot Seat’. Her second act was more of an actor’s monologue then a strip tease, but Tatas pulled it off where few could. Have you ever seen a grown woman have an argument with a piece of furniture? Crazy great aunts, aside, you have to see this one. Intel: Lady Tatas prefers her furniture butch.
SSB interns Nikola Teasela and Lotti Glitterati each shared their romances with the chair. The latter, Ms. Glitterati showed that sometimes we only want something because everyone else does. Usually, we want such things all to ourselves. Lotti was beautiful in classic glamour, and while the chair may have slipped through her fingers in the end, she didn’t let the ‘one that got away’ faze her. She’ll get what she wants eventually. Nikola bore her soul, while on that chair. She offered the audience a piece of what I call, “burlesque dramatique” a darker, more serious piece in which exposure is more important that titillation. It was a risky choice, but she did it well.
Guest Artist Kylie Koyote stepped in to participate in the “poly-armchair-amory” (a Diva-ism, not original Fosse Jack!), and brought two of her signature pieces to the stage. Her Flamenco inspired chair dance was the first. I have seen this act before and I can happily say that Kylie never stops getting better! It was a beautiful piece, and ‘the chair’ made for a very steady Latin Lover. Her second act however, was the one that really got the crowd going. From ‘imitation’ to ‘fellation’, Kylie made the audience pant. This is why I’d like to dub her the “Diamond Dog” of Seattle. (Seriously have you seen this girl drool over rhinestones? Ha!)
Finally, the senior star of SSB, Ms. Evilyn Sin Claire did not disappoint! In both acts she made that chair work. In the ‘Wild Child Tango’ she reveled in an abandon of passion and desperation. Longing for forbidden love, all she could do was live out her fantasies in her mind, and on the chair. Speaking of fantasies, Evilyn’s second act made me laugh and blush harder than anything I’ve seen in a long time. Though short and sweet, the closing act of the show was as hot as a bolt of lightning.
If you haven’t gathered, “The Hot Seat” is a very strong show. The individual acts are, across the board, solid and sexy. The group acts blend classic SSB and the newer, more theatrical stylings the group has embraced. The narrative is the strongest they have come up with, and the concept is one of the most unique I have seen. I wish I had reviewed this earlier because I really think that every burlesque fan needs to see this.
Sinner Saint Burlesque performs every Thursday night at The Noc Noc, in Downtown Seattle. ‘The Hot Seat’ runs for one more week, which means you have one more shot to see this romantic comedy about a group of girls and The Chair they share!
~ Fosse Jack
PS: Stayed tuned, I have been promised some inside information concerning SSB’s next run and you’ll get the preview here, on The Scarlet Curtain.