Luckily for audiences at the Glee Club, the burlesque and cabaret show The Gilded Merkin showcased their home-grown talent in a sensual showdown of tease and cheek. Presented by Nottingham’s own Scarlett Daggers, the show was kicked off by the producer who put on a fantastic mashup of burlesque meets comic variety mashup at Glee.
The show kicked off with Stage Door Johnny who, dressed in the snazziest suit and tie imaginable, played a vital role in ensuring the mood remained uplifted and provided constant fits of laughter, drawing on current news stories. A small cast of five other performers ensured a multitude of entertainment and two performances from each professional act. These included Scarlett Daggers herself, the ever-glamourous Anna Fur Laxis, the bizarrely comedic Mr B (Gentleman Rhymer), the slinky-nerdy Fancy Chance, and the dazzling Daisy Black.
“An evening filled with a tasty array of comedy, striptease, and colourful performances”
As a newcomer to the world of burlesque and cabaret, I was intrigued as to what exactly it would be like. Would the show live up to the expectation of boudoirs and feathers? The Gilded Merkin certainly achieved that on Sunday 16th, with an evening filled with a tasty array of comedy, striptease, and colourful performances that brought a vintage setup to the venue. Even the audience members arrived in dramatic 50s outfits, glittery sequins, and three-piece suits – all eager to win the coveted ‘his and hers’ best dressed prizes.
Despite some harsh lighting on occasion and one or two sound problems, the show ran smoothly throughout the night. The stage manager had to clear up the props whilst Stage Door Johnny interacted with the crowd and introduced the next performer. This was slightly distracting, however, he did a good job to include the manager in the jokes so the audience didn’t feel we were all pretending not to see the happenings on stage.
The DJ was always right on cue and the velvet drapes and golden glittery sign as the backdrop provided a small taster of the extravaganza to come. Scarlett Daggers’ sexy race-driver inspired performance revved this spectacle, finished with a leather skirt and nipple tassels. Joining Daggers was Fancy Chance who performed a Star Trek routine – far from what many of us expected! With the addition of the famous soundtrack and smoke machine, this convention-style striptease was oddly bright and funny.
“She astounded members of the audience with her sheer core strength to be able to dance with that number of hoops”
However, one of the most outstanding elements of the show was the two performances by Daisy Black. First coming on stage to perform a hula hoop routine, she astounded members of the audience with her sheer core strength to be able to dance with that number of hoops. The addition of tricks and spins whilst balancing these hoops left jaws dropping. Although, more stage space would have made this somewhat easier to watch, as Daisy Black did mouth the one member of the audience to move back slightly in case they were knocked by the hoop. Her second performance was equally as exciting, showing off the circus and theatrical element by performing on the hoop mid-air and leaving everyone in awe of her flexibility.
“Sexuality is owned by the individual themselves and one doesn’t have to be confined to a singular personality type”
The confidence that oozed from Anna Fur Laxis was something that most women aspire to achieve and was wonderful to see on stage. Her first act showed her two personalities, half of her dress being a 1950s housewife and the other half being a rocker chic costume. These little elements of politics and feminism shined through, emphasising that sexuality is owned by the individual themselves and one doesn’t have to be confined to a singular personality type. An addition of a bible emblazoned with the Christian Cross was also something very interesting to note in her performance.
Overall, The Gilded Merkin, whilst perhaps not having slower reveals and intrigue as other burlesque acts, was a comedic and slinky production, whose performers each brought something different to what it means to be confident in your own body. It was refreshing to see cellulite and stretch marks on stage as opposed to airbrushed figures. I wouldn’t miss supporting these class acts when they visit again nearer December this year. You may even be stimulated to try a burlesque class for yourself!
Featured image courtesy of The Gilded Merkin’s official Facebook page.