On Saturday 27 October, WESTWAY CINEMA welcomes the return of LUX DE VILLE. In true Variety style, the show includes beautiful girls, fabulous music, singing, dancing, a little risqué comedy and – Poetry? Yes, Compere for the evening is Frome’s home-grown Poetrix Muriel Lavender, she of the naughty costumes and the even naughtier verse.
We met with Dulcie Demure, founder of and principal performer at Dulcie Demure's School of Burlesque, to find out more. Over a sophisticated cup and saucer. With our pinkies sticking out.
Dulcie, this is the first Burlesque show at the Westway in over a year. What’s been happening?
‘We’ve been super busy performing at lots of local events, including Lolita Noir’s wonderful Crimson Cabaret event for PAC at Rook Lane last month. We’ve also been shooting a film with a talented Trowbridge artist, plus our usual modelling shoots and promo work for our next show, Lux de Ville!’
I heard about Crimson Cabaret - it was a sell-out show! Is Lux de Ville anything like that?
‘Yes – if you loved Crimson, you’ll love Lux-De-Ville: the same decadent styling and cabaret format. But each Burlesque show has a different feel to it. We like to keep the audience on the edge of their seats! And this time, we’re having fun with the Hallowe’en theme, so expect beauty and laughter with a dark-and-naughty twist!’
A dark twist! Sounds intriguing! How dark can you get with glitter and a feather boa, though?
‘Not every Burlesque artiste uses a feather boa! We have quite a few tricks up our sleeves… but I couldn't possibly give away any secrets – you’ll have to come along to the show to find out just what we have in store for you!’
Tell me about Burlesque - isn't it just girls taking their clothes off?
‘Many people do think Burlesque is just stripping. It’s not. True, classic Burlesque is all about Variety: comedy, dancing and singing, and of course the seductive art of striptease. Because it conjures up the obvious images, it’s often forgotten that a Burlesque show is a highly sophisticated entertainment, carefully woven together in the old-fashioned cabaret style. The performers themselves take great pride and a lot of time and effort designing their routines and beautiful costumes.’
There's more to it than I thought. It's been around a long time, hasn't it?
‘Burlesque as an art form has been around for centuries, making many transitions since the 1400's when it originally meant ‘to make light of a serious subject’. The style we’re familiar with today has its roots in early 20th-century America, We still try to maintain the comic art of Burlesque, which adds to the pleasure of classic striptease.’
And why the Westway? It's a Cinema...
‘The Westway is an independent Cinema which means it has a lovely welcoming atmosphere. The interior fits perfectly with Lux-de-Ville – although the Westway was rebuilt in the 1970s, it somehow has a slightly Art-Deco feel which adds to the Vaudevillean entertainment! The Cinema deserves the support of local people, so as part of the fun we’ll be holding a raffle with gorgeous prizes to raise money for the Go-Digital scheme. For Lux-de-Ville though, it’ll be transformed into a theatre with proper stage and comfy seating! You’ll love it. And it has a fully-licensed bar and snacks available – perfect!’
How did you get into the business then, Miss D?
‘I’ve been a dancer for over 20 years. I started Burlesque back in the early 90's when I lived in London, but gave up when I had my daughter. I then went into Podium dancing and ran a dance school, but my love for vintage clothing and the art of Burlesque just dragged me back! I set up Dulcie Demure’s School of Burlesque in 2009 and it’s gone from strength to strength: I’ve trained many ladies who are now performing on stage. Not only do I teach and perform myself, I also produce shows like Lux-de-Ville across the southwest and Wales. I meet amazing performers all the time, so as well as my own troupe I get some spectacular headline acts. Wait until you see Constance Peach…’
Gosh. See you on the 27th!
Lux-de-Ville is at Westway Cinema on Saturday 27 October and Saturday 15 December. Headline performers will be different for each show, so check in online to find out more, and save by booking tickets in advance. Visit www.westwaycinema.com or call 01373 467088. Facebook users can look up the Westway Cinema, Dulcie Demure or Muriel Lavender for photos and sneak previews.