FRINGEWORLD: Herstory (4 stars)

Review by Laura Money

“Let them eat cake” – Marie Antionette

“A dingo ate my baby” – Lindy Chamberlain

Australia’s undisputed Queen of Burlesque, Imogen Kelly smashes into Perth’s FRINGEWORLD head on in a hilariously unabashed sexy romp through history. Herstory takes its cue from the most notorious women in history – likeable or not – and allows them to tell their story through a combination of dance, humour, and of course, striptease.

Hosted by the jaded and aging Marlene Dietrich, the whole show comes together with wit and aplomb – oh and plenty of raunchy bits thrown in! Kelly is flawless as the grumpy diva, Dietrich, bossing her assistant about, struggling to do day to day things like put her own wig on. All of the stumbling about is cleverly calculated – Kelly is the master of her craft. She provides a well-needed sense of humour in her multitude of costume changes – while it’s a little sexy, she allows for the audience to relieve tension by laughing at her antics. Her moment to shine really comes when she ‘forgets’ to change into her costume and is left in her granny-panties for all to see, singing a dirge-like version of The Good Ship Lollypop. Kelly has to be one of the sexiest women around, yet she looks daggy and ridiculous in her underwear. It is this acute sense of comedy that truly makes Kelly’s performance brilliant.

Whilst one never expected to see a sexy Lindy Chamberlain strip to the beat of the big bad wolf, nor did they expect for a dingo to, quite literally, emerge from her spread legs, Kelly makes it amazing. I can’t imagine what was going through her head when divising that particular routine, but it absolutely works. Cue other infamous women such as Karen Horney, Princess Diana, and Marie Antionette, and you have a well rounded show that uses the infamy of its subjects to scintillate its audience even more. Kelly is a wonderful talent. She not only explains a little about each person, but breathes life into them as real women, not just figures in history. She uses silks, slick costume changes, sexy dances, and of course – traditional burlesque.

Culminating in Kelly’s famous “Let them eat cake” routine as Marie Antionette, the show is sexy, raunchy, and surprisingly educational. Just don’t eat the cake afterwards!

When: 27th – 31st January 2016 (10pm)

Where: De Parel Speigeltent, Perth Cultural Centre

Tickets: From $15

Info: Duration 60mins, recommended 18+