From out of Hillsborough, about three years ago, was born the Bottom Line Burlesque & Comedy Troupe, a most unusual group of entertainers — burlesque queens, you might call them, although they include a guy now, who mightn’t appreciate the term. And they early on developed a purpose greater than striptease and applause: supporting the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for Excellence for Eating Disorders (UNCEED) and promulgating the idea of “being body-positive and confident in who you are at any age or size or with any background.”
Burlesque has been around for a long time, and has been an honorable segment of theater, along with parody, satire, mockery, comedy, and variety entertainment that, in America especially, includes bawdy humor and striptease acts. The Bottom Line Burlesque & Comedy Troupe calls performances the “Cleanest dirty fun you’ll ever have!” One of us laughed so hard his face hurt.
We saw A Springtime Bottom Line: Moonlight Buds & Bloomers on Saturday, March 19th, at Common Ground Theatre in Durham; and one of us even got to participate in a sensuous line dance. In the course of 34 acts (but who’s counting), we saw bodies of all ages and shapes camp up striptease, juggle, chorus dance, sing, play ukulele, do skits, parade, perform one magic trick(!), set and unset props, twirl plates — and twirl batons — tell jokes and generally present two hours filled with what used to be called a “revue.” The performers were funny, they had almost as much fun as the audience, and they all work under noms de théâtre.
Ruby Martini founded the troupe, and is their principal practitioner of the art of ecdysiasm. Practice has made her pretty darn good! She has the rolls, the shakes, the bumps and grinds, and some specialties best not named — and the personality that goes with them.
Twirly Temple does some marvelous baton twirling, and leads the parade on and off the stage like a true drum majorette throughout the show.
Lotte LaRue, who juggles hats, balls, and men’s affections, and who’s been around the world a few times, still has it; and she sure knows what “it” is!
Fifi L’Amour bats out a fine jazz style, and shows some scat chops with “Fever,” “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” and “All of Me.”
Hottie Scottie belts out a wonderful campy version of “I Feel Pretty” in drag, and then redeems his macho standing with “Just a Gigolo,” a great sad song. We had the rather blue experience of seeing what’s under his kilt, and his abilities at juggling as he worked with Lotte LaRue.
Not only was the Bottom Line Burlesque & Comedy Troupe open to interaction with the audience, responding with humor and style to various comments, but they also brought some folks out of their seats to dance and get involved in other ways.
This is a boisterous and fun-filled experience. We were surprised that Hillsborough-based this burlesque-and-comedy troupe has been around for three years, doing some important good deeds supporting the UNCEED, and providing audiences with clean but dirty entertainment all in good nature, and yet this is the first time we’d heard of them. We hope to see and hear more them in the future.
A SPRINGTIME BOTTOM LINE: MOONLIGHT BUDS & BLOOMERS (Bottom Line Burlesque & Comedy Troupe at Common Ground Theatre in Durham).
VENUE: http://www.cgtheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/cgtheatre, and https://twitter.com/CGTheatre919.
UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (fundraising recipient): http://www.med.unc.edu/psych/eatingdisorders/ (official website), http://uncexchanges.org/ (blog), http://www.med.unc.edu/psych/eatingdisorders/make-a-gift-to-the-program (make-a-gift page), https://www.facebook.com/unceatingdisorders (Facebook page), and https://twitter.com/uncceed (Twitter page).
[RUN HAS CONCLUDED.]
Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.