Backstage Burlesque: A Behind the Scenes Tour

Ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at a burlesque show? Behind that glitter curtain, beneath all the glitz and glamour that unfolds onstage, what really goes on?
Well, the ABC has decided to take you on a secret tour. Ladies and gentlemen, for one night only we would like to invite you behind the scenes, into the mysterious world of burlesque backstage…*

Tonight we’re at Glasgow’s hottest new cabaret venue, Wild Cabaret, which recently opened its doors in the Merchant City. Academy founder Gypsy Charms programs several of the regular weekly shows here. This involves her bringing the best of Scottish variety talent together, along with the ABC’s own showgirl troupe and a host of special guests from London, to present exciting, high-calibre shows for this dapper new venue!

Tonight however, the show features entirely home-grown talent, for The Homecoming Cabaret: an evening’s entertainment dedicated to all things Scottish.
Upon arrival (having made a mad dash through the drizzly rain, to avoid ruining my carefully-pinned victory rolls) the dressing room is already busy. Tonight’s host, Rufus T. is busy going through the running order and organising his tracks for singing throughout the show. Burlesque beauty Miss Hell’s Belle is sitting in the corner, carefully applying some false eyelashes, while singer Lynn is contemplating which dress to wear for her set: blue cocktail dress versus red diamanté ball gown? Everyone is in agreement: darling, always go for the bling, you can’t go wrong.
Meanwhile, Miss Leggy Pee is checking her coiffure in the corner mirror, whilst her partner in crime, the infamous Charles M Montgomery relaxes prior to his set.

Charlie relaxes before his act
Charlie relaxes before his act

Stage managing tonight is Gypsy, resplendent in a sequinned pink dress and bustling around making sure everything is in order. In the far corner, Daiquiri Dusk is seated, half hidden behind a mound of feathers as she works on some emergency fan-repairs, just in time for the show.

Daiquiri working away
Daiquiri working away

With the show kicking off at 8.30, we’re then joined by ABC dancer BonBon and our line-up is complete.
Rufus kicks off the show with ‘500 Miles’ encouraging the audience to sing along and join in. They’re a small-ish crowd but certainly seem to be in the mood for a show. Given the Scots theme, all of tonight’s acts pay homage to the land of the Scots in one way or another. Miss Hell’s Belle starts off with a classic, elegant fan dance to ‘My Love is Like a Red Red Rose’ and then later performs her epic Isis wings routine set to a well-known track from the movie ‘Braveheart’.
BonBon is on hand to provide the show with some classic Scottish dances, including a Seann Triubhas and a Sailor’s Hornpipe.

Miss Hell's Belle & BonBon strike a pose
Miss Hell’s Belle & BonBon strike a pose

Bringing another splash of tartan to the show, Leggy Pee and Charlie take to the stage for some specially chosen Scottish numbers. Singer Lynn’s set seems to go down well and the show is closed by Daiquiri, performing her ‘Bonnie Scots Lass’ burlesque striptease.

Daiquiri, Leggy Pee & Charlie
Daiquiri, Leggy Pee & Charlie

As the show goes on, performers come and go in a steady stream. No quick changes tonight thankfully, so the atmosphere is very chilled backstage.
Finally it’s curtain-call time, and the performers gather in the wings, awaiting their name being called before the re-join host Rufus onstage for the final bows. He wraps up the show with ‘Loch Lomond’ and both the crowd and performers begin dancing and singing along, bringing the evening to a close on a wonderful high.

As the applause dies down, everyone heads backstage and gathers together (except the host, he always misses these things) for the ‘Performer Group Mirror Selfie-Shot’ that has become so popular at shows over the last couple of years. (We are a vain lot indeed – any excuse for a pic!)

The Backstage Mirror Selfie
The Backstage Mirror Selfie

And that brings us to the end of the night. Costumes are carefully packed away and the rhinestones and feathers are replaced with fur coats and street wear, as everyone prepares for whatever treats the Scottish weather has in store for them once they step out from behind that glitter curtain and back onto the rain-soaked streets of Glasgow.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’d like to thank you for joining us this evening and we hope you have enjoyed our backstage tour and the show. For more info on Wild Cabaret’s upcoming shows visit:

(*Disclaimer: having invited you backstage, we must state that we cannot be responsible for any / all glitter which you will inevitably find upon your person now and forevermore hereafter. It’s just one of the hazards of the job. Welcome to burlesque!)