(I used a few photos taken backstage by Roxy as well as photos and a video from Caryn – I hope you guys don’t mind, great job!)
Lourens Loki Corleone
The last week went by really quickly, ladies and gentleman. I think that Mr. Frost might need to do a follow-up to his Guide to Surviving Ramfest entitled “Guide to Surviving The Week After Ramfest”. I know I barely made it through, and I’m still exhibiting scars from that weekend madness.
Predicably, we discovered it was Friday again – sans the music festival. We had something a bit different planned this time though.
As you all remember, a few months ago, Roxy entered the Black Orchid Best of Burlesque Competition and came second. She had my vote, but the judges ruled that (the also brilliant) Kitty Fay should take the gold home.
Two weeks ago Rox told me the news: Black Orchid had asked her to join the troupe as an official member. It seemed like Tenille (AKA Lady Magnolia) had decided to go her own solo route, so Roxy was chosen as the new 4th member of the troupe. She decided that she didn’t want to join the Beasties side of the troupe; she prefered focusing on the classic burlesque rather than the darker, edgier side of The Beasties, in fitting with her choice of character.
Asking her brother’s help with the music, Nick quickly mixed a few songs together for Rox’s routine. All she had left to do was practice, practice, practice.
Her first show with Black Orchid Burlesque would be “Taking It Off On Broadway”, and the night had come to paint Cape Town red. There were limited tickets but, luckily, ours were arranged for us. When I say “arranged”, I mean that we gave someone else money to buy tickets for us because we are known for our slight tendency to procrastinate.
Not long after I get back to Somerset West after work on Friday we hit the road to Observatory, Cape Town. We were joined by cousin Andrea and the rest of Rox’s girl gang (the Pop Tarts), would meet us there.
I have to admit that I was quite excited. I love the burlesque scene. Besides agreeing with the empowering aspects of it, it is largely entertaining to watch, especially when the girls are as beautiful as the Black Orchid girls (my slight star-crush on Scar-Lit Hearts not having anything to do with it of course.)
Observatory is definitely one of my favourite parts of Cape Town. The vibrant characters that inhabit it, in contrast with Observatory’s slightly seedy reputation prove to be a very potent cocktail. Pun intended.
You can almost taste the energy in the air. For those who don’t know, Lower Main Road in Obz is home to infamous establishments like Gandalfs, Roots (formerly Cool Runnings), Obz Cafe, the Armchair Theatre and a treasure trove of other little pubs and hole-in-the-walls. Driving down the narrow road, it is easy forget that you are in South Africa.
The best thing about Obz would be the people. Think: bohemian revolution with a heavy dose of alternative. You might get the picture. We parked the car under care of an enthusiastic car-guard named Bessie (officially the strangest name for a male) and headed towards the venue. The back room of Obz Cafe hosts a small theater where Taking It Off Broadway was preparing to start.
As we walked in, I happened upon someone I hadn’t seen in years. Christopher (who’s surname escapes me) has got his heart set on stand up comedy, and God knows we need some fresh funny-men in our current South African slump. Good luck mate! He introduced me to the person standing next to him and a Jagermeister later, and we were all friends.
Having met up with the Pop Tarts, we made our way to the seats and waited in anticipation for the show to start. We didn’t wait long.
The theme was “Broadway”, obviously, so most of the numbers for the night had a similar feel; many were taken from Chicago, Cats, Cabaret and other famous productions.
First up was the entire Black Orchid Troupe doing a short dance number and giving the audience a chance to get to know them. Fantastic! I knew that Roxy didn’t have much time to rehearse it but nonetheless I think they all performed exceptionally well and in full character.
A few minutes later Diva DisaStar was up. Interestingly enough, she started out scantily clad but strategically covered-up and acted out a girl getting ready for a night out on the town. The crowd still, as the show had just begun, but being a pro, Star soon rectified the situation with her temptress demeanor, strutting her stuff on stage with gusto. A true diva if I ever saw one.
Next up was the troupe’s songbird, Miss Melody, performing “Fever”. Her voice is amazingly full and within seconds she had successfully mesmerized the crowd.
Following Miss Melody was our Wild Wester, Roxy de Light. We whooped and cheered as she played the cabaret vixen, dancing around the stage with grace and flair and then eventually turning the skit into her own version of “strip” poker. As her choice of song suggested: “The name on everybody’s lips is gonna be…Roxy!”
She may have been nervous a few days before the big night, but in true Rox fashion she was in her element once she set foot on the stage.
After her routine there was a brief intermission. We stocked up on drinks and nicotine and returned to the theatre area just in time for Kitty Fay to do her thing. She had put a lot of effort into her routine: It was definitely the best sequence I’ve seen her do, especially keeping in theme with the night. She showed her flexibility with some high kicks, and the crowd loved it. These girls were made to perform!
The second last act was Scar-Lit Hearts with her Marilyn Monroe tribute…the “red-head” version. Sporting a sexy white corset, she made sure the guys had their jaws on the floor and probably the girls as well. A playful personality clearly shines through on stage, and definitely adds to her already sultry performance.
Last up was both Diva DisaStar and Scar-Lit Hearts performing a number from “Guys & Dolls”. They delivered the number with an overabundance of sass, and the audience (us included) were delighted at their tongue-in-cheek portrayal of girls having to give up their material things. When they were done, the rest of the troupe appeared on stage and continued to captivate the crowd while Star thanked everyone that contributed to the success of the show.
The night was truly a success! I eagerly look forward to the next one. Girls, keep up the good work. Roxy, congratulations from your Wild West fan base for a successful debut. Black Orchid Burlesque is sure to make waves.
After the show we decided not to join the Pop Tarts at Ponchos but to head to back to Somerset West. We made it home in record time, but then it took us a further hour to decide what to do next. Phil, who was honing his gambling skills playing online poker, decided to join us. We headed towards town to pick up Jess Johnstone who was out partying.
When we found her she was accompanied by Esna Strydom, Julian Bach and Jan Spies. They jumped in their respective cars and followed us to our next destination. Gordon’s Bay… (ominous music)
Kaygan Britz had invited us to join a party they had going on at Mark and Jade’s house, and, eventually after getting horribly lost on the way there, they came to the rescue and found us.
What happened next was spur-of-the-moment insanity. The music was good and the people were friendly. I remember sitting at the table at one stage, Jan sitting next to me, looking up at the group of girls dancing enthusiastically on the table and thinking: good times! A fist-bump emphasised how much we enjoyed this kind of behaviour.
At some point Esna and Julian decided the roof would be a good place to make noise. It was about this time that the Police showed up to break the party up; which was a pity as we were having mad fun. But that is what the Police do. And to be fair, it was some ungodly hour of the morning).
We drove back to Somerset West and the moment we crawled into the front door I headed for my bed and the hangover that was sure to follow the next morning.
When I woke up there were people passed out on the pool table and bodies all over the couches in the lounge… and everything was calm. For a while.
For a video of the Black Orchid girls doing what they do best, take a look at Caryn’s awesome mini-documentary OVER HERE.