By Halie Williams, Columbus Underground
With musical-like elements, old school comedy, and irresistible burlesque dancing, Shadowbox Live’s new Stage 2 production, “Burlesque de Voyage,” proves to be yet another hit for the theater.
During opening night on Thursday, in the Shadowbox Live theater on Front St, most of the scenes were thoroughly entertaining and the show balanced between slightly humorous, dramatic and also seductive.
However, this is unlike any show Shadowbox Live has done before.
As the show opened it becomame apparent that “Burlesque de Voyage” isn’t the normal sketch comedy and rock and roll, or even a full out musical. It also isn’t a full burlesque show, even though the name suggests so. This new production is “a show within a show,” which tells the story of a traveling, burlesque style performance troupe, showcasing their entrance into a new town.
Act one starts with the performers staggered around the entire theater, on not only the stage but on the floor as well, as everyone packs and cleans up in preparation for traveling. As the scene continues, Stev Guyer and Julie Klein, who plays the character, Busty, sing Joe Cockers, “Space Captain,” as the troupe continues to gather the set.
A majority of the scenes deal with the planning and composing of Burlesque de Voyage’s burlesque show, which is performed towards the end of act two, including the drama between performers, auditioning new ones, and rehearsals, while singing various songs.
One exceptional song in particular that shines, is the performance of “Voices Carry” by Til Tuesday, sung by Nikki Fagin, who plays performer “Beverly.”
The Burlesque de Voyage show itself contained several song and dance numbers, and old style burlesque comedy.
A comedy sketch within the burlesque show is a highlight among the others is titled “Miracle Cures.” It showcases “Craig,” played by Robbie Nance, impersonating a doctor who has invented a way to cure any patient’s illness by transferring their illness into a dummy, “Tim,” played by Jimmy Mak.
Other performances that stand out are burlesque dancer, “Kat,” played by Katy Psenicka, and her version of Karen Gallinger’s “If I Can’t Sell It,” a mysterious and spine-chilling performance of “Sweet Dreams,” by Emily Browning, and comedy act, “The Blind Bootleggers,” with “Tim,” Jimmy Mak, “Harvey,” played by David Whitehouse, and “Beverly,” played by Nikki Fagin.
The closing number of the Burlesque de Voyage show is a dance number to Massive Attack’s, “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game.” Amy Lay, Renee Horton, Kaitlin Descutner, Nikki Fagin, Noelle Grandison and Kalena Willoughby are captivating and seductive without it being too much.
The rest of the production showcases the troupe’s pack up and preparation to travel to another city, as well as a pretty clichéd ending.
I knew walking into the opening of “Burlesque de Voyage” that this wasn’t going to be the standard Shadowbox Live show, however, I wasn’t expecting what I got.
“Burlesque de Voyage,” pushes the boundaries of what the troupe has done in the past. Although some sketches didn’t quite hit the mark, overall the show is an amusing change from a common performance. In summary, I have yet to attend a Shadowbox show that I did not enjoy.
“Burlesque de Voyage” is playing May 31 – August 15 at 503 S. Front St. on select Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. with no shows on July 11 and July 18.
Although the show contains no nudity, the audience was asked to refrain from any photography out of respect of the performers.