TEASE by Lindsay Mullan (Theatre Lab and Big City Kitties/Next Stage). At the Factory Studio. Jan 11 at 4 pm, Jan 13 at 9 pm, Jan 16 at 8:45 pm, Jan 18 at 1:30 pm, Jan 19 at 8:15 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Although Tease‘s three performers (Lindsay Mullan, Bianca Alongi, Cristina Goncalves) first appear in poodle skirts and cardigans, dont be fooled. This is not your grandmothers burlesque show.
Created and directed by Second City alum Mullan, the three actors incorporate traditional burlesque-style dancing with improv, comedy, clowning and a hefty dose of feminism. Video compilations of women in film are effectively incorporated throughout, delighting us with sassy Mae West quips but reminding us of the long history of women in film against which the show is speaking.
All three demonstrate their prowess as they draw out the tensions within burlesque. In one scene, a cardigan-clad Goncalves does a dance to Doris Days A Guy Is A Guy, in which Day sings in an upbeat tone no less about a stranger following her home and assaulting her. In another, Alongi plays a sex robot-clown dressed as a schoolgirl, referencing the upsetting popularity of infantilized female sexuality (stats on PornHub dont lie).
Mullans remarkable vulnerability towards the end stands out as a powerful contrast to the rest of the show.
Some transitions could be finessed, and there are moments that ought to be faster paced. Yet the jarring change in tone from scene to scene is also apt, capturing the distinct layers of what its like to live inside an objectified body every day.