Star Wars Burlesque - The Empire Strips Back

Star Wars BurlesqueA Burlesque Parody
Athenaeum Theatre Melbourne, Saturday 25th February 2012

Show contains strobe lighting and smoke effects
Show contains 0% content from the prequels.

I purchased tickets for this when they first became available so I have been looking forward to it since last year. I am usually taking photos when I am watching these performances, but not this time as I just wanted to watch it and I didn't really know the people organizing it (I had seen Tasia before, but that was a while ago.)

The MC for the night was Luke Skywalker/Mark Hamill played for laughs as a space dork. It was good to have someone in between most of the acts to break it up and he even got to do a song of his own. Another highlight was getting each of the three levels of the theatre to do their best "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

The show was very well set up in terms of costumes and props and hard to fault for fans of the movies. Yes, some of the characters went gender bender for the sake of the show, but who can say what the sexuality of a robot is?

Excellent contemporary music choices including Portishead, Urge Overkill, Radiohead and the Prodigy. It actually makes it better that they saved the main Star Wars music until the final performance as it had more of an impact.

Great lighting rig also, which would have looked better if I was more than three rows from the stage. It was used well for each of the performances and choreographed with the music.

I went into the show not really knowing many of the performers and not knowing what to expect. My expectations were met and exceeded in each case. Probably not the best to talk about each performance individually so I don't give away the entire show, I will just mention a few of the highlights.

The "Wookie Hunters" with Chewbacca tied to a post was a strange concept, but the trio of dancers were really good and it turned out they were hunting the wookie for a different reason than you would have expected. It was good to have the three dancers as I haven't seen a trio act for years. I also liked that the dancers jumped down into the audience and over the seats.

Han Solo's performance was played for laughs with guitar shaped like the Millennium Falcon and the dancer looking very lanky. It was also one of the only two male performers in the show.

The Leia Slave Girl performance finished the first set with Tasia playing the role with a reasonable looking Jabba the Hutt stand in (the tongue almost upstaged Tasia) and a big chain from the ceiling for Leia to swing on. It looks pretty dangerous as the same chain is attached to her neck, that makes it more exciting though.

As seen on the poster for the show, the Imperial Guard was the most physically imposing of the acts and had a great arse. Probably about half the routine had the dancer with her back to the audience. I really did not expect the latex reveal and also the end of the performance where she took her helmet off.

Special mention must go to the sexy Storm Troopers with five of them on stage for their dance and doing a great routine. The stage did not look that big so it would have been hard for the performers to do their moves without falling off. Don't think it really worked saying there wasn't going to be a performance with Darth Vader at the end of the show. It was in the trailer and promos so people weren't going to leave anyway.

Tasia was great as Darth Vader and the fans worked well blowing her cape around. The latex costume was really great as was her light saber twirling.

I enjoyed most of the acts, even the ones I had trouble seeing from being so close to the front. There weren't really any bad parts of the show and the audience reacted well. It was a good mix in the audience also with the show being a popular show for people to take their partners to.

This will more than likely be the only burlesque show I attend this year apart from the Dr Sketchys sessions. I was glad that it was a good one and I hope the show does well in the rest of its run.