Words by Ed King
5 days to go…
From the absurd to the sexy, with some quite staggering feats of hand to eye thrown in, Swingamajig 2016 presents a pretty anarchic programme of burlesque, cabaret, dance and the occasional well humored piece of destruction. All well worth a gander, but here are a few cherry picked performers to get you started.
Just, maybe, depending on your… erm, threshold, avoid the front row seats. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Viddy below:
Juggler, standup comedian, and with a Faustian earned ability to defy the laws of gravity (unsubstantiated, but seriously… how else?) Jon Udry brings a stage show to make any circus ringmaster weep into his lion’s mouth. Honestly, the man is like a mix of Bez and Magneto – big-fish-little-fishing his way around the impossible and back again.
OK, maybe Bez was a bad example – but the choreography attached to his show gives Udry a beautiful and fluid stage show. Plus he’s funny, slightly absurd, and the winner of ‘British Young Juggler of the Year’… just don’t ask him to make you a cup of tea.
Brought to Swingamajig 2016 by DanceXchange and the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2016, with production credits also going to Without Walls, Phone Box is the latest commission from choreographer and dancer, Cory Baker. Clue’s in the title, right?
So what is Phone Box… well, I’m not 100% sure what to expect, but the freshly commissioned piece (making its debut at Swingamajig 2016) ‘brings to life this nostalgic British icon with thrilling dance and a wacky digital sound-score’. The troupe dance in it, around it, on it, and, I think, through it. And if you were born before 1980 you’ll remember how chicken hutch small those bast*rds were to just stand in.
‘Queen of Queerlesque’, a new one for the event lexicon, Rubyyy Jones combines theatre with dance, narrative with striptease, and bundles the whole well executed cacophony into a poignant stage show. ‘One part Las Vegas Showgirl, one part Broadway Baby and one part Drag Queen’, Rubyyy Jones is a self described ‘Burlesque Sex Education Performer’ who cut her teeth as an actress before adopting the elongggated moniker.
But Jones’ neo burlesque performances carry edge of heartbreak, menace and politicized fun. Be it an internet chat room, a disappointing Christmas, or just a good old poke in the eye to stereotypes, Rubyyy Jones has a touch more than just something to say. And the stage is where she says it, like a velvet glove punching you in the face. Marvelous stuff.
A British burlesque artist with exuberant flair, and more than a dash of Hollywood’s golden era about her sequins, Eliza DeLite ‘meticulously constructs her acts with a view to transport her audience to a place of visual beauty and wonderment’. Sounds about right.
Winning the British Female Crown 2012 and International Crown 2014 at the annual, London hosted, World Burlesque Games – Eliza DeLite is well established on the international cicuit. Her sets homage burlesque across the eras, from the more traditional tease to contemporary culture reference points such as Twin Peaks. She’s no stranger to the fan dace either… I will never look at a peacock in the same way again.
For more on Eliza DeLite visit http://www.elizadelite.com/
Other burlesque and cabaret acts appearing at Swingamajig 2016 include Kitty Bang Bang, Peggy DeLune, Equador the Wizard, Spider Salah, Dr Andrew Szydlo’s Brief History of Boom, Diego Spano (as Charlie Chaplin) + The Brothers Swag.
And for the who, what, when & where’s for all the artists performing at Swingamagig 2016, check out the full event running order below.
Swingamajig 2016 comes the Rainbow Venues in Digbeth on May 1st – running form 2pm until 6am. Tickets are priced at £22/£25/£30.
For the full Swingamagig line up, alongside everything else you need to know about the festival – including online tickets, visit http://swingamajig.co.uk/
For more on Rainbow Venues, visit http://therainbowvenues.co.uk/