Ray's Guide to Chicago Area Burlesque
Show dates and reviews from the burlesque scene in Chicago.

Belmont Burlesque

UPDATE 5/23/04: Last night's show continued Belmont Burlesque's tradition of having some fun with the medium of intimate vaudevillian burlesque. Bombshell regulars Paris Green, Ms. Pixie, and Naughty Natanya pulled off a short series of vignettes dressed in formal gowns that drew laughs, and culminated in Natanya peeling from hers accompanied by classical music, leaving us breathless. Interspersed were guest performances by the hilarious magician Tomas, Red Hot Lenhof (a fire eating beauty who put out Jack Midnight's fire), and the always stunning Michelle "Toots" L'Amour. The evening was completed by Jack Midnight belting out a couple of songs and of course, the banter between Jack and Uncle Al. My date and I laughed as much as much as were mesmerized. Upgraded to highly recommended.

ORIGINALLY REVIEWED 3/15/04: After a few months off, the monthly Belmont Burlesque Revue has returned in full force. This is a true amateur show, in all the best senses of the word. The performers, mostly members of local theater companies, are clearly in it for fun. With a small house and admission of $10, nobody is making any money, but you'd never know from the energy they put into it.

Hosted by the Jack-Daniels-swilling Jack Midnight and chaperoned by the curmudgeonly Uncle Al, the show features the fabulous Belmont Bombshells in group and individual dance and peeling numbers, each artful (and in at least one case, intellectual) in its own way, along with the acidic, but funny comedy of duo Himmerick and Gerdes, and acts by guest performers. The March performance included the amazing Michelle "Toots" L'Amour, and singing by the mysterious and beautiful "Madame X."

The small venue made for an intimate show in which the friendly, though sometimes mockingly antagonistic rappor between Jack and Al was entirely appropriate, and drew lots of laughs. The peculiarities of the Playground added to the show, as well. At one point a performer exited stage left, whereupon Jack made a comment about it being, "nothing anyone in this neighborhood hasn't seen before," -- the only way back to the dressing room is outside and around the building.

This was everything I could ask for in a burlesque show, and I plan to be a regular, looking forward to see what they come up with every month. Recommended.

Return to front page