It’s not all glitz and glamour at this Fringe burlesque show
A Showgirl: Deconstructed is burlesque like you’ve never seen it.
Burlesque extraordinaire Carletta the Great (The Great Debacle) is a Fringe regular, with three shows currently on the circuit. Tease Mania is an outrageously entertaining hour of debauchery and striptease, while Shaken: A James Bond Cabaret is a James Bond face-off.
A Showgirl: Deconstructed possesses the shock value that has become Carletta’s signature, whilst also being an hour of reflection and soul-searching.
What: A Showgirl: Deconstructed
Who: Presented by The Great Debacle
When: 7 - 18 February, 7.30pm
Where: The Palace Society, 334 Murray Street
Not your stereotypical showgirl
Taking place in the Ibis Palace, Fringe-goers file into the venue to see the titular showgirl with her back to the audience, humming off-key into her bedazzled microphone. With her voluminous wig, corset and abundance of tulle, Carletta is quite the spectacle.
The performance literally begins with an on trend mic drop before quickly morphing into a sort of microphone tornado. Cue Carletta suddenly pulling microphones from her cleavage, her skirt, and her wig, culminating into a microphone birthing scene.
The hour passes in a whirlwind of video montages and costume changes. Carletta doesn’t speak a word throughout the entire performance. Instead, she goes through a range of elaborate outfits, performing every change on stage so that her nude form is as much a part of a costume as her seductive get-ups.
For example, the five minutes she spends simply sitting on the edge of the stage, nude, whilst struggling to zip up her thigh-high latex boots succeeds in its mission to make the crowd uncomfortable. Such vulnerability is rarely seen.
Equally thought-provoking is the penultimate segment, which sees her don a boned skirt adorned with eerie white masks, and proceed to pull red ribbons out of their eyes.
At times, the performance is overindulgent, with some scenes dragging on. However, at its heart, A Showgirl Deconstructed is an exercise in vulnerability and self-exploration. It exposes the behind the scenes world of showgirls and burlesque artists, which is fraught with insecurity and self-doubt.