Just the Tonic, Edinburgh
If you haven’t really had much exposure to burlesque or cabaret, this show is a good place to start. Full of the weird and the wonderful, Kitty Cointreau’s BraHaHa is a variety showcase of Fringe performers in an evening of laughs, glitter and tassels in the eerie yet cozy intimacy of the Caves.
Compere Duncan Oakley is a middle-aged secret rocker, but unfortunately he doesn’t have the infectious energy such a character implies. His gags lack wit and it feels like he’s having to drag things out and kill time, making his appearance seem quite last-minute and unplanned. First in the line-up is Missy Malone, a burlesque dancer in the traditional sense of the word, with a tantalizing strip and fan dance. Her second routine as a demon is much the same as her first, and her captivating beauty doesn’t quite distract from a feeling of repetitiveness. Spencer Maybe makes an appearance as his alter ego – God. Shy and unassuming, he gets the audience laughing with his very ordinary projection of the creator of the world. But the highlight of the first half comes with Cat Aclysmic. After a dodgy start badly lip-synching to a voiceover, the audience “oooh” and “ahhh” in part horror, part amazement as she transports a naked flame using her own bare fingers and tongue.
Next up is stand-up Will Hodgson, who gets the audience tittering rather than rolling around holding their bellies, but he is nevertheless quite enjoyable to listen to. It’s recent Show Me The Funny winner, Patrick Monahan, who is the star comedian of the show. Able to really get the laughter flowing, he feeds extremely well off his audience; in fact, most of his set is devoted to such interaction, producing some hilariously unpredictable results. The big build-up to the show’s namesake, Kitty Cointreau, who remains mysteriously absent from stage until the finale, is a bit of a let-down that doesn’t quite live up to the long-awaited anticipation. Apart from being uber-confident and having glitter exploding from every prop, there’s nothing that really defines her from the other acts. Her strip is lightning fast before quickly running off stage as if to preserve her modesty – quite an abrupt end to an otherwise well-rounded show.