Suicide Girls Burlesque Show

I went to the Suicide Girls Burlesque Show last night at Neumos. I had missed the last tour and was curious to check it out, particularly since I’ve seen a fair amount of Seattle burlesque over the past year. I must say that I expected to have a better time. My impressions follow:

The Venue: Neumos is a music club and it’s a fine place to see bands. I’ve caught acts like Mission of Burma and the Ex there and liked it fine. It was a shitty place to see burlesque though because if you are standing more than ten feet from the stage it’s hard to see. It was also completely packed with people and thus really hot. I had pushed my way up pretty close, about fifteen feet from the performers, and I was still constantly shifting in place trying to catch the action. For the most part I was only able to see torsos. Now when I’m watching Mission of Burma perform, I don’t care if I see Roger Miller’s legs. When I’m watching a burlesque show, I’d like to see it all. There were parts of the show when the girls dropped from sight completely and I could only wonder what they were doing. I think this sort of show would have been much better at a venue like the Moore Theater, which has tiered seating that would provide a way better view.

The Anonymity: I was surprised that the show had no MC. Reagan talked to the crowd before and after but during the set there was nothing. I think the production would really benefit from a MC. At other burlesque shows I’ve seen the MC would introduce each routine, telling you who the performers were. At no point in the entire show were the individual SGs called out and introduced to the crowd. That seems a shame.

The Music: I must say that I found many of the musical choices lacking. Suicide Girls has always billed itself as a site for punk and goth girls. Well, there was a bit of goth thanks to Nixon but there wasn’t even one song that approached punk rock. I realize punk isn’t always going to be the best choice for dance routines, but it seems to me that it’s pretty integral to the SG identity and should be represented. Surely the girls could have some fun with songs like “Beat on the Brat” and “Teenagers from Mars”.

The Good: Lest you all think I’m just a cranky SOB, let me say that I did like a fair number of the routines. I thought the movie-related ones worked the best. The Reservoir Dogs and Napoleon Dynamite segments were both really good. The stewardess routine was fun, ending with them throwing packets of peanuts into the crowed. I also liked the “Mister Mister” skit, a vignette about obsession and insanity.

The Conclusion: Overall, while I had an OK time, I’ve enjoyed local troupes like the Heavenly Spies and the Atomic Bombshells more. This may in part be due to their more retro approach. I think the SG show was trying to be more “edgy” but in so doing they missed out on some of what makes classic burlesque, like the glitzy costumes and even tassels. All that said, I’d probably give a new SG show a shot if they performed it in a better venue.

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