Viva’s Hen Party, Edinburgh

Behind the scenes of a burlesque performer/teacher/hen party organiser’s own hen party…

As co-director of Academy of Burlesque & Cabaret, and a lover of all things glittery, glamorous, bawdy and over-the-top, I wanted my own hen party to be an amalgamation of my favourite things. I was lucky enough to have my hen night organised by my beloved and ever-so-slightly-eccentric co-director Miss Gypsy Charms, who isn’t known for doing things in half measures.

Despite now living in Cardiff with my husband-to-be, I decided to hold my hen party in my hometown of Edinburgh, where the majority of my friends and family still live. The night started off normally enough – a meal at a Mexican restaurant (called Viva Mexico, appropriately enough) with family, friends, many members of the Edinburgh and Glasgow burlesque communities, each with a Viva mask. As they started to filter off after the meal, making excuses about early starts the next day, I started to feel a bit despondent, seeing my dreams of a crazy late night surrounded by friends dashed. I was then taken down to the Voodoo Rooms, one of our favourite teaching and performance venues, and, SURPRISE! – all the early-leavers, plus scores more friends, were there… dressed in drag. Oh yes, my glamorous hen party was to be a drag cabaret, hosted by Miss Gypsy ‘Springtime for Hitler’ Charms.

I was immediately made to dress up in a black ballet leotard and pink tights (a pair of Gypsy’s from about 1991 which came up to my thighs) and some bright pink “I’m a child of the ‘80s” legwarmers. With the obligatory willie/veil deely-bopper combo, it was a winning look.

I adore party games and ‘doing’ things as opposed to just sitting and drinking, and was thrilled by the three-part drag cabaret/burlesque show the girls (and occasional boy) put on for me. Interspersed with the acts were party games (including ‘Pin the Tail on the Viva’ and a special burlesque Pass the Parcel). The girls started off with a performance of Bonnie Tyler’s classic “I Need A Hero” and the night descended rapidly into hilarity! With specially created drag performances from many Scottish burlesquers, this was a night to remember: highlights included the Glasgow Dance House burlesque class doing a ‘ned’ striptease down to Burberry tassels, and the Edinburgh burlesquers re-creating their classic Bettie Page bondage routine from burlesque class/my leaving Edinburgh party (and, um, getting the signposts the wrong way round, apparently due to them being too distracted in rehearsal by Miss Candy Poison getting chewing gum stuck on her glove… sure it happens to Dita too…)  Miss Gilda Lily managed to look sexy dressed in nothing but a pair of tassels and an… ahem… fake male body part, and Mr Impressive Johnson performed his werewolf act, before getting into the spirit of the drag theme in a flowery tea dress. The grand finale was a Copacabana fan dance number in which I was forced to make a cameo appearance.

After the show, the merriment was taken to the dancefloor, and then onto fab Edinburgh club The Green Door, run, incidentally, by ex-boylesquer Mr Lucky Strikes.

We’re afraid we can’t promise you a Hitler burlesque cabaret drag show for your Edinburgh hen party, but for something a little more glamorous and dignified, give us a call!