Sunday, September 21, 2014

Review: A Night of Sex and Desire and Hot Performers

Winning an audience over takes skill and precision. Sex sells. And with the added element of alcohol, what else do you need? In Company XIV’s latest piece Rococo Rouge, the themes of sex and desire take center stage in an old fashioned evening of burlesque that bridges the gap of classic contemporary.
Photo courtesy by Phillip Van Nostrand
Performed in their new apropos theater and accompanying bar, Rococo Rogue is a sexy piece of burlesque. A night of sex and intrigue. An evening romance and temptation. Rococo Rouge uses common elements of the form mixed with an effective update of routines from dance to song to pole dancing. Despite a lack of story and character, Rococo Rouge is still stunning from top to bottom. Broken up into three short acts, perhaps mostly to help refill empty glasses, Shelly Watson serves as the evening’s emcee and host, guiding the audience through an array of emotions, presenting the talented yet scantly clad players. To help blend the periods, the show employs a perfect combination of musical styles from the classic “Habanera” to Lorde's “Royal”, Rococo Rogue is a sensual mix within the thematic pallet. The entire unit of performers shined in their area of expertise with some winning the hearts of the audience in their routines, namely Allison Ulrich with her stimulating pole dance. The dynamic duo of Brett Umlauf and Katrina Cunningham, the unsung hero of the night, covering the majority of the vocals were exquisite. Cunningham’s smoky and captivating rendition of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” opened up the audiences ears to the poignancy of the text. Cunningham needs to record an album of her brilliantly seductive covers.
Director and choreographer Austin McCormick gave the evening the right amount of intrigue and glamor, leaving the audience wanting more. The converted space allowed for some challenges but using the architecture of the space, including a column right smack dab in the middle of the stage, to their advantage was wonderful to see. The scenic design by Zane Pihlstrom aided greatly to the production. The beautiful Revolution inspired scrim, filled with a naughty teaser picture, reveals a sultry world of intrigue behind it. Ambiance is everything with the space. The furniture, décor, and even wait staff completed the well rounded atmosphere. Jeanette Yew’s lighting design is provocative, allowing for some stunning moments of shadow and light. The variety Yew brought allowed for each act to live on its own. The costumes by Pihlstrom were striking and flawless, showcasing the assets of each company member.
The art of burlesque isn’t dead and Company XIV is proof of that. With Rococo Rouge, less is definitely more, in every meaning of the phrase.


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