Toronto Burlesque Festival 2015: The Lost Toys
Friday, August 28th, 2015
Virgin Mobile MOD Club, Toronto
July—that magical month that all of Toronto looks forward to—for the glamorous Toronto Burlesque Festival. Well, except for this year. We had this little event called the Pan Am Games that just took over the entire city and made life for all of us who live and work here… apparently not as horrible as we all had anticipated.
Still, it was a wise choice to have the festival at the end of August this year so as not to overshadow the Games with the sheer awesomeness that is the Toronto burlesque scene. I mean, which would you rather see—striptease or synchronized swimming—am I right?
As with last year, the festival started off with a story-based show. Last year we peeped through the keyhole as the guests and staff of a fabulous hotel went about their sordid affairs with their “Hotel Tryst” show. This year, we were whisked away to a lost and found department at a whimsical train station where the wise old station clerk, played beautifully by SMB, discovered and fixed capricious toys that came to life in front of our eyes. Aided by his new friend, the lost troll doll, played by Pixie Trix, they wove a narrative that held the entire show together perfectly as they tried to reunite each toy with its owner.
The entire show was like a stroll back through my childhood as the performers went above and beyond to create amazing live versions of treasured toys I remembered from long ago…
There was a live interpretation of the coiled metal toy the Slinky, performed by the only person who could actually pull this one off—Obskyura. And oooh, a burlesque-in-a-box, but with the gorgeous and talented Ava Noir dolled up in a striking red hot corset and bra, popping out at the end. There was Bon Bon Bombay’s clown ballerina emerging from an old trunk that was pulled onto the stage by the Mansfield Brothers (well, at least 2 of them). And who better to interpret Pinocchio than Dew Lily who, with the help of JP Robichaud’s skilled rope work was transformed back from little boy to marionette.
Dr. Orifice brought back memories of my toy chest as a life-sized Stretch doll, bending his arms in ways they shouldn’t go, touching his face with his arms bent behind his head, and contorting in all sorts of creepy ways. And ballerina dolls Charlotte Webber and Suki Tsunami reminded me of a Degas painting come to life, spending their act helping each other out of their sheer white tutus.
Watching Kate Mior’ wind up doll, with the big wind up key sticking out of her back, looking through a Robots magazine to find the (several pages long) centerfold was a highlight of the night.
Mahogany Storm’s transformed a pole routine into a live Tetris game, climbing up to grab pieces and posing beautifully on the way down. Knox Harter’s extensive dancing skills shone brightly as she posed and twitched as the porcelain dolly. And who would think that you could interpret something as simple as a mobile—but that’s exactly what Charlotte Webber and LaRouge did, spinning up high on a framework of silks.
An absolutely favourite act of the evening was Mr Potato Head as interpreted by Coco Framboise, with the signature black hat on her head and big white eyeballs, communicating with her white gloves. Gracie Klutz has completely changed my perception of innocent little toy Teddy Ruxpin with her ingenious and dirty act. The evening was topped off with a signature act by headliner Aurora Galore, her evil clown, which had the addition of fire this time around.
In the end, all the lost toys seemed to have been reunited with their owners and Pixie’s troll doll—which never could find it’s original owner—became the old station clerk’s toy.
Tremendous applause to the producers of the show—Coco Framboise and Dew Lily. The put together a fabulous and creative storyline that really tied together every single act. Kudos to all the performers for really bringing their toys to life, to the kittens of the evening, and to the stage manager and show crew. That was one hell of an enjoyable evening and a great way to start off the festival!
Check out the gallery of images from the show…