“And now for something completely different.” Those words, from MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS, were certainly appropriate last night in New York City, when I attended a rather unusual homage to DOCTOR WHO: a burlesque show with acts based on the Doctor and his friends and enemies.
Performed by the Hotsy Totsy Burlesque troupe and staged at Rbar NYC on Bowery Street in Lower Manhattan, this was a fine example of modern burlesque — which is never to be confused with mere stripping. Burlesque is the art of the tease and celebrates dancing, athleticism, costuming… and suggestion. Nobody got naked; everyone wore pasties (including the guys). This show was about titillation — and everyone’s favorite Time Lord.
The campy premise of the show saw a flustered 11th Doctor visiting Cherry Pitz at “The Home for Wayward Girls and Fallen Women” on her birthday — for 87 days in a row! No matter what time/space coordinates the Doctor entered, the TARDIS brought him to Cherry’s birthday party every time. And the celebration was cause for a number of burlesque performances, including: “Clara Oswald” (portrayed by Ivory Fox); “The Empty Child”; a clockwork robot from “The Girl in the Fireplace; an unlucky guy and a Weeping Angel; “The Doctor Donna” — in which the dancer started out dressed as the 10th Doctor and stripped down to her undies, at which point she donned a red wig and became Donna for the rest of the act; and Miss Pitz herself (along with costume-retrieval by police woman “Amy Pond,” as played by Tigerbay Lambykins). The main bar area featured a Weeping Angel performance by Living Statue Galatea, who only moved when you weren’t looking at her.
All the acts were truly inspired, decked out in wonderful costumes — for however long they were worn — and featuring excellent choreography and music. The performance space was tiny but packed with an audience that ate up every bump, grind and shimmy with ecstatic howls and catcalls. And the players really knew their stuff; the script was littered not only with burlesque and vaudeville jokes, but with shout-outs to DOCTOR WHO history, characters and stories — including an extended bit about Neil Gaiman’s “The Doctor’s Wife” when
the TARDIS Idris “Sexy” took over Cherry’s body and just had to set her tassels swinging in the show’s grand finale!
Regular readers of this blog are familiar with my obsession with all things DOCTOR WHO, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen a tribute to DOCTOR WHO quite like this… and neither have you. Nor will you, sadly, as this was a one-off event; Hotsy Totsy Burlesque changes its script every month. (Past show themes have included the Harry Potter and GAME OF THRONES universes.)
Cherry Pitz and Joe the Shark proudly present Hotsy Totsy Burlesque, New York’s only episodic, monthly burlesque show. Featuring a different script each month and a rotating cast, Hotsy Totsy is a high camp soap opera featuring some of the best burlesque talent New York has to offer.
A plethora of Doctor Who inspired acts by:
LIVING STATUE GALATEA
Spinning around the galaxy of poles will be IVORY FOX
Cleaning up after the Doctor will be none other than TIGERBAY LAMBYKINS.
And HANDSOME BRAD as THE DOCTOR!
For those in the NYC area, Hotsy Totsy Burlesque performs at Rbar on the third Tuesday of every month. You do have to be over the age of 21 to attend, however, because the venue is an actual bar.