THE Capital could soon be hosting a Burlesque Festival thanks to two performers who fell in love with the city.
Chaz Royal and his partner Betty D’Light, who already produce the London Burlesque Festival, brought their Sexy Circus Sideshow to Edinburgh for a special performance at this year’s Fringe festival – and now they are looking for more than just a one-night-stand.
The couple, who met on the circuit in London but enjoyed their jaunt up to the Fringe so much they are now living in Leith, will launch the Edinburgh Burlesque and Variety Festival, tentatively scheduled to run for between three to seven days during next years Fringe, at a fundraising “teaser” show at the Voodoo Rooms on Saturday.
Chaz, 34, who hails from Ontario, Canada, but has “relatives from Scotland on both sides” said: “There was such a great response to our Festival show and there seems to be such a demand for the kind of entertainment we can offer that it just seemed like the right time to jump in.
“The London Burlesque Festival is now going into its seventh year and it’s had a lot of coverage in Scotland, so we’re sure we can generate the same level of excitement for a similar event taking place in Edinburgh.
“We’re hoping our show on the 17th will make even more people aware of the diversity and variety involved in burlesque and cabaret. It’s not just fans, feathers and boas and it’s not just for certain types of people. It’s for men, women, gay, straight, couples, older people... everyone! We’re hoping to reeducate those who may have mixed opinions on what burlesque is.”
One person who’ll certainly be cheering them on is performer Hettie Heartache, who lives in Blackhall.
The 26-year-old, whose love of vintage clothing and stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth led her to the glamorous world of burlesque, said: “I’ve worked with Chaz and Betty on a lot of previous events and they’ve always been fantastic. I would certainly welcome more events in Edinburgh featuring this form of performance.
“When I was younger I had serious issues with my confidence, and burlesque performers really inspired me to feel good about myself and to get out there.”
Hettie will be performing for Chaz and Betty this Saturday, along with a dozen other acts from around the world.
Chaz continued: “Among our amazing line-up we have Veronique Divine from Lisbon, Portugal, who recently competed in the World Burlesque Games and placed as second runner up. Betty will be performing, as will ex-model Frankii Wilde aka The Jayne Mansfield of Burlesque, and Ebony Silk, who has featured in British Vogue.”
And it’s not just the ladies who will be taking to the stage. Duke Demilo, who claims to be the only male burlesque act in Sunderland and who recently performed a Susan Boyle-themed striptease at the World Burlesque Games, will also be appearing – though it’s not known if he will be doing his SuBo routine.
The Edinburgh Burlesque and Variety Festival fundraiser is at the Voodoo Rooms this Saturday. Doors open at 8pm and the show begins at 9pm. Tickets cost £13.50 and are available from Ticketweb.
Full details and listings can be found at www.edinburghburlesquefest.com