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Twisted Cherry Burlesque’ is a bit subversive—but also hot

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Veronica Derriere is one of the featured performers in the Onyx Theatre’s Twisted Cherry Burlesque.
Photo: Bill Hughes
Jacob Coakley

The Details

Twisted Cherry Burlesque
Three and a half stars
Monthly at Onyx Theatre, dates at onyxtheatre.com or 732-7225

Twisted Cherry Burlesque, a monthly burlesque revue at the Onyx Theatre, is uneven, but gets so much right and has such an effervescent energy that the performances take off while they take it off.

Each month Twisted Cherry offers a common theme and lets performers craft acts that respond to it. For this month’s “Guilty Pleasures” theme, Motley Manhattan (who also organizes the revue) performed two numbers. Her first, a standard burlesque routine in which she stripped off various layers of Hello Kitty paraphernalia, was a little stiff, but her second-act number, where she “stripped” out of a straitjacket while singing Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” was much more relaxed, fun and had a slightly confrontational edge. It positioned her not just as an object to be lusted over, but let her express a little kink—along with her talent, humor and agency, all hallmarks of the best of neo-burlesque.

Later, Cha Cha Velour burned up the stage when she entered in a stunning chocolate brown, Edwardian-styled silk dress, her face hidden by two large fans. She teased the crowd behind the fans until her big reveal: She had a Fu Manchu mustache and goatee. It was a thrilling moment—made even grander when, after her first song, she moved into a strip number dancing to “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” a routine in which she caressed her mustache as much as her other womanly assets. It was subversive gender politics and, yes, hot.

Other highlights included: drag king Jeffrey Xerxes Brice finishing the show in white pants and a half-open red silk robe while dancing to “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” (gender bending doesn’t get much better than a drag king with painted-on chest hair and spirit gum sideburns acting like a ’70s rock god); Veronica Derriere dressed as Jessica Rabbit and shaking like nobody’s business; and Kay Squared returning to the stage in a fast little number that was way too short a showcase. And as MC, Emily Lauren kept the evening moving with her manic comedic bits. Next month’s theme is “Sizzle,” and you bet I want to see where they take it.

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