When you combine the sensual with the divine you get Dionysus: god of wine, ritual madness, and ecstasy. Burlesco Divino is the latest production by Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann to show at the Triple Door, and it seems clear that their intent was to channel that ancient deity, and offer a bit of worship. Tonight is the second of three nights for the show. If you high tail it you might get in tonight. For tickets for tomorrow’s early or late show, click here.
The show is split into two acts. The first act takes place in ancient Rome, with gods and worshipers, fire dancing, break-away togas, and lots of wine. The second act is in 1960’s Rome, and follows the story of an American reporter who’s gone native in the party scene, along with Vespas, sunglasses, and lots of cigarettes. It’s kind of like it starts with a dream, then ends with a story.
The first act of the show at times feels very severe, with lots of chanting in Latin. It goes a good way towards instilling the feeling of ritual, but it is definitely the most intense burlesque show you’re likely to have seen. The dancing though — the dancing is so fun, and sensual that it carries the audience through what might otherwise be a little off-putting. The Dance of the Vines, followed by the Harvesters of Bounty were two stand out dance performances early in the first act. Funny, sexy, and oddly reverent. The first act featured a good amount of lip-synching, which is always jarring. Thankfully this didn’t continue in the second act.
The second act starts with what looks to be the morning after a particularly rawkus party. There’s bodies on top of bodies, and under the haphazard covers everyone is in their underpants. A dance develops where everyone on stage slowly finds their clothes and gets dressed. It’s at this point that our protagonist Babs Larson is revealed. She’s in Rome to cover the party life, but has gone pretty Hunter S. Thompson about it in practice. Still though, it’s a burlesque show. There are lots of dance numbers that don’t really further the plot, but who cares? There is a Vespa dance that’s pure silliness, but worth the price of admission by itself.
Burlesco Divino is a fun, wet, boozy fun night for grown-ups. It’s sexy, and beautiful, and silly. What they are doing is art, but also you’ll never look at a leopard-print unitard the same way again. It’s unique, and Friday is the last chance to see it before the Divino is cellared, and Verlaine and McCann set their sights on the Burlesque Alice In Wonderland, coming in September.