Grab My Junk
Grab My Junk , one of Red Bennies' new cabaret shows, has a lot to do with what the title implies. Cassandra Atkins, one of the performers in the show, describes it as "a little bit naughty and a little bit interactive". As volunteer audience members are challenged to grab hold of some tassels and swing them for all they're worth, this is a show that doesn't shy away from pushing sexual boundaries in the search for comedy, titillation, fun and a fabulous night out.
The show involves members of the audience seeing just how far they will go in order to get through several rounds of challenges involving teasing performances from burlesque artists, complete with beautifully sequined corsets.
Cassandra is no novice to wearing the type of lung-squeezing corsets that burlesque has made famous. Having been involved in several Miss Nude Australia and Miss Nude World pageants as either a contestant or a clothing designer, Cassandra argues there is "something about being strapped in tight to an amazingly decorated corset and there is something about watching someone take it off". Cassandra has long been familiar with burlesque and costume design, since she could sew burlesque outfits before she even knew what they were. She gained most of her knowledge of sewing from her mother. For Cassandra, being dyslexic also made the creation of costumes something she could feel an easy affinity for, saying that "sewing was all I really knew".
As the show involved many of the performers revealing some of their more intimate sexual fantasies, Cassandra was actually quite surprised at just how open performers were to giving away some of this information. I won't, of course, reveal how any of these fantasies get incorporated into the show, but it makes up a very tangible element of the show's appeal and encourages audience members to get just as involved as the performers. Having seen a few descriptions of Grab My Junk, I have no doubt that the show maximizes the type of sexual titillation that has made burlesque famous the world over. Grab My Junk is one of the first major productions by The Bijou Group, who have been trading under this name for nine months.
Aside from the significant experience of other Bijou Group members, Cassandra alone boasts significant knowledge of burlesque. Cassandra teamed up with Jac Bowie PR And Events (the leading Burlesque agency for the past eight years with the Burlesque Ball, The Ruby Revue and Dr Sketchy's) to create the Miss Burlesque International, Australia's first Burlesque Competition.
You'd think Grab My Junk wouldn't be a show for everyone, but Cassandra also reckons that it would be a great show to take a first date to! "There's no moment where you don't know what to talk about, as the show is very funny," she smiles. Watching contestants push the boundaries of their interaction with performers is bound to be a treat. With steel-boned corsetry and several professional burlesque performers playing their part, it's bound to entice men and women for the appealing aesthetics involved in the show.
Having experienced elements of both the burlesque scene in America and Australia, Cassandra argues that Australian audiences are actually more conservative than Americans. It may, however, have something to do with the fact we are simply a smaller population, with a smaller amount of burlesque clubs, of which Red Bennies has been waving the flag for several years.
"If one style doesn't interest you, don't wipe burlesque out all together-give another style a go," she says. Grab My Junk is based on New York burlesque, which has evolved in a more in your face, aggressive, over-the-top and singularly sexual type of burlesque, which will surely suit the more adventurous audience member.
Showing at Chapel Street in South Yarra, Red Bennies has long been a supporter of new and emerging burlesque acts.
Grab My Junk happens at Red Bennies on Friday March 18. Doors open at 5pm and the show starts at 8pm. Featuring MC Danny McGinlay, Kelly Ann Doll, Ellashaye D'more and Peachy Dream, it's a burlesque gameshow and costs $20/$25. For more information on the show, check out grabmyjunk.net to check out the types of shows Cassandra Atkins and her fellow performers are offering in Grab My Junk .
BY SIOBHAN ARGENT