When I heard that a member of The Actors Gang, Lindsley Allen, was putting on a burlesque show in Hollywood, I was instantly intrigued. The renowned theater group is known for their brand of highly physicalized theater and innovative productions, and seeing as that applied to modern-day burlesque implied so many possibilities.
In addition to working in theater, Ms. Allen is a professional dancer who has worked with artists ranging from Prince to Carmen Electra. Shes also a founding member of The Pussycat Dolls and a highly sought-after choreographer. The influence of each of these experiences can be found in her new show, The Rendezvous, which she created, choreographed, and directed. The Rendezvous, starring the dancers of Cherry Boom Boom, combines elements of cabaret, burlesque, circus acts, and commedia dellarte to tell a story of romance and discovery.
Upon arriving at King King in Hollywood, the show began the moment you stepped into the theater. Boomettes (Boom Boom girls in training) were on hand in burlesque-inspired costuming to usher you to your seat while providing you with popcorn and a fun atmosphere.
Aerialist Nikki Blakeslee opened the show with a bang, and the energy stayed high as host Sharon Ferguson let the audience know what they were in for. The Cherry Boom Boom dancers performed a series of rapid-fire numbers full of sparkle and hard-hitting choreography that left the audience dazed and breathless.
Sensuous and precise bellydance by Mayte Garcia, a hoop performance made to look easy by Kelleia Sheerin, and enticingly choreographed group numbers swirled around the central storyline of two innocents falling in love. The lovers, played by classically trained actors Angela Berlina and Justin Zsebe, used movement and heightened emotion to tell their tale. They engaged both separately and together with the dancers as they experienced the flutter of a first kiss, dreams and future hopes, trials and temptation, and finally a resolution of their experience.
King King provides an ideal venue for this type of show, with great sight lines from just about every seat, an in-theater bar, and even an area for live instrumental accompaniment. The cabaret-style seating encourages the inclusive social aspect of the show, and the dancers made great use of the entire space, often venturing out into the crowd and engaging the audience. There were a variety of stage and set options throughout the venue which added a lot of visual interest, and excellent use was made of all the available elements with the choreography choices. One beaded curtain in particular was alternately caressed, swished, or tossed about in knots, depending on the prevailing story arc. Costumes had the requisite feathers and sparkle expected at a burlesque show, with some offbeat choices like torn stockings adding a rock 'n' roll edge. I especially appreciated how every technical detail was addressed and somehow integrated seamlessly into the storyline so the audience was never taken out of the show.
The Rendezvous is a polished and glittering show intent on building a home in Vegas, where it would make a great fit. Equally suited for men and women, it would make a great addition to any guys' or girls' night out, or date night.
For Fans Of: Pussycat Dolls, Dita von Teese, Burlesque the movie, Forty Deuce