Boudoir – Les Coquettes (Toronto Burlesque)

By Megan Mooney

Les Coquettes

First, let me tell you that I am a fan of burlesque.  I have never not enjoyed myself at a burlesque show (oooh, double negative, wonder if I’ll get in trouble for that).  That said, I REALLY like good burlesque (lets be honest, there’s a lot of mediocre out there that you really appreciate for the heart, not for the quality).

With that in mind, let me tell you, watching Les Coquettes was a real treat.  The show was funny and sexy and filled with talent, all the things burlesque should be.  It’s no wonder all their shows seem to sell out.

Let me start with the venue, because it was perfect for this kind of show.  The Revival is a really great room.  It’s spacious and feels rich and luxurious.  Luscious curtains, warm wood, dim light and lots of candles set the mood.  A word of warning though, by the time the show started there was standing room only, so if you want to be guaranteed a seat, be there at 7pm.

The venue isn’t the only thing that sets this one apart from other shows I’ve seen though.  This show is full of live singing from folks with great voices, not just movement to a song playing over the sound system.  As one always expects, and usually gets, at a burlesque show, the costumes were great, these people know that a lot of the appeal of burlesque is the visual feast, and they provide that.

John, my show-partner for the night, also really loved the show.  When we were talking about it afterwards he started pointing out the things that bugged him, and then he said ‘you know, these are tiny little nit picky little things that I wouldn’t be bothered talking about if the show wasn’t so well done.  It was great, so the little things are frustrating, because that’s what keeps it from being fabulous.”  I can understand that.

So, what were the things that bugged us?  Well:

– When we first walked in the fog machine had been on and it was hard to see, once the show started there was even more fog and the players on stage were completely obscured.  It’s possible that it was on purpose, but it ended up feeling frustrating, not mysterious.

– It would have been nice to have an ‘opening act’ kind of thing for the people who showed up at 7 and had to wait.  Nothing fancy, someone with a guitar would be fine, someone who people who wanted to talk over could, and people who wanted to be entertained could watch the stage.

– My big beef was the lighting.  It drove me crazy.  It was frustrating because it made the people on stage nearly impossible to see.  People were so often backlit, which not only makes them more silhouettes than people, it also means lights are shining into the eyes of the audience, and honestly, that kind of hurts.  When this effect is combined with the fog you may as well be listening to an audio recording of the show while watching a white-out snow storm out the window.  It really really bugged me, because the show was great, I wanted to be able to see it.

– There were a couple pieces where things dragged a bit, I would have liked to for them to be a bit more up-tempo, or have more movement involved, something to capture the attention a bit more.

Honestly though, those are pretty small quibbles.  The show really was great, it just had some room for improvement.  I really recommend Les Coquettes for a night of bawdy fun.  And, even though there are a few unbelievably sexy scenes, you’re not likely to feel awkward because the atmosphere is one of rowdy fun, not lewd gawking.

Les Coquettes put on a show monthly, their next one is the holiday show – A Winter’s Tail

A Winter’s Tail plays on Sunday December 14 at The Revival (783 College St)
– Doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8pm
– Tickets are $20 in advance (although, really, $21 because of the service charge), and $25 at the door.  My recommendation is to get your tickets in advance, given Les Coquettes shows perpencity for selling out.
– You can get advance tickets here

Photo by Greg King