Post exam diet and with the passing of the holiday season, it seems fitting to finally review one of St Andrews’ more controversial events after such a wholesome few weeks. I am referring to the town’s very first burlesque show, held at Hotel du Vin earlier this December.
In my previous interview with Brandy Montmartre, the show’s leading lady, she had emphasised that burlesque was not to be equated with stripping and that it is far from a lewd act making people’s bodies into products to be consumed. On my way to the prossecco reception that preceded the event, I still did not know what to expect. I didn’t even know if I was dressed appropriately, what does one wear for burlesque?
Everyone I was greeted by at the reception was unbelievably friendly. Given the pushback and overall lack of advertisement for the event, I did not expect a huge turnout. There wasn’t one; We were about twenty-five in the room give or take. Settling down at my table with my friend and a glass of wine, I waited to see whether or not I had just sat down to what could be my most awkward experience in St Andrews yet.
For the most part, I think Brandy’s description was a fair depiction of the show. Given the small turnout, I was all the more impressed by the host of the show, who turned what could have been a rather awkward gathering into a casual, intimate affair. In fact, all the acts did a great job of turning the small numbers to their advantage, making everyone feel comfortable and as involved as they did or did not want to be.
The acts themselves, in my opinion, fell somewhere around a NC-17 rating (for you non-Americans, this is how the Motion Picture Association of America judges the age-appropriateness of films). The one exception was one act performed to Rihanna’s “S&M”, which was definitely raunchier (no one is waltzing to that, as you can imagine). Overall, the costumes, music, and stage production were beautifully done and not the lascivious spectacle one might assume them to be. I almost forgot to mention the dinner – all three courses were quite good, and I was equally impressed by the variety in the selection. It was a nice dinner out with an added, admittedly adult, twist.
I applaud Hotel du Vin on their willingness to push St Andrews outside of the box. St Andrews has come a long way since its days as Scotland’s religious hub and I for one don’t see any harm in staying ever so slightly open-minded. After all, the priests of yesteryear would not be very pleased with what we’ve done to Raisin or coed dorms so we might as well, right?