Back in March 2009, I started my second course of burlesque classes. Under the expert tuition of Marianne Cheesecake, a group of about ten of us worked towards creating our on-stage characters and building our confidence as performers. At the end of the course, my friend Cicci (who talked me into going in the first place!) arranged a little get together in a bar, where the discussion over drinks turned to what happens next. Before long, five of us had planned our first burlesque photoshoot and were pondering our first stage performance in front of an audience.
As we considered a name for our newly formed troupe, I stared at the group photographs from the shoot and laughed at how different we all looked… like a bunch of burlesque misfits and rebels! I suggested the title of the David Bowie song Rebel Rebel as a name for us and The Rebel Rebels were born. “We like dancing and we look divine” became our tagline long before we realised that dancing was not where our strengths lay.
Our first show was in September 2009 at the gorgeous art deco bar Last Days of Decadence in Shoreditch and, although it was originally planned as a one off party for friends and family, pretty soon people were asking when the next one would be. A Christmas show followed and then we settled into a routine of two shows per year, discovering some fantastic burlesque friendly venues along the way. Each show featured individual acts from each of The Rebels, plus a few from some of our talented friends, and a group act with all five of us at the end. These group performances soon became the comedic highlight of the evening, featuring silly romps with themes such as Cinderella, the office Christmas party, Batman, a day at the beach… and we even had some shady goings on in Burlesqueville once. The evil Suspender Woman was kidnapping burlesque beauties in order to put on her own show, so who better to defeat her than our very own version of Cagney and Lacey?
However, the most thrilling comic creation was undoubtedly the little old ladies that Betsy Bliss and More More Kensington created in 2011. Doris and Enid started off with tea, sherry and a séance, before becoming agony aunts and going on a cruise – where they saved the rest of The Rebels from the clutches of a filthy beach photographer. Thanks to those lovely ladies, we managed to get the theme tunes for The Golden Girls, Super Gran and Baywatch into our shows. Whoever said that burlesque is all about sex appeal clearly hasn’t been to see The Rebel Rebels!
Although our next show sees the welcome return of Doris and Enid, this outing will sadly be our last. Miss Lolly Pops is retiring from burlesque to concentrate on her studies, Betsy Bliss and More More Kensington are busy with work, Little Miss Naughty has been helping The Sassy Tassels in Manchester, and Honey Schnapps has been one of the Barelesque Minxes for their last four successful charity shows. We have all enjoyed the fun and creativity that the last four years have brought, and will continue to get together and swap stories over a bottle of wine. There will probably be less jiggling around in our pants though!
So, on Saturday 27th April at 8pm, The Rebel Rebels will take to the stage for the last time for VIVA REBEL ROCK! With the wonderful compère Lucky van den Boon by our side, tech support from JP and stage management by the long suffering Andrew, we really hope that you’ll be able join us for a truly spectacular send off at Elixir Bar near Euston. Doors open at 7pm and the bar will stay open until midnight. Tickets are £7 in advance (from WeGotTickets) or £10 on the door.