Review | Don’t sleep on BurLEZque’s ‘Pillow Talk: Back in the Sack’

Pillow Talk: Back in the Sack | The Hat Trick | til Feb 6 | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Last year, BurLEZque presented the Fringe World Festival debut of Pillow Talk, garnering a five-star review from OUTinPerth for their entertaining, educational exploration of queer sexuality.

Heading into the 2022 redux, Back in the Sack, I wondered how they’d top last year’s foray under the covers. The team had originally shattered expectations with their surprisingly personal showcase of lived experience, bringing the realities of love, sex and even grief to the stage through the art of burlesque.

It didn’t take long for me to find my answer as new cast members and new numbers brought fresh voices to the stage to gently whisper sweet nothings into the audience’s quivering ear.

Returning MC Ginger LaMinge storms the stage with the manic energy of a rogue children’s entertainer, on a mission to defy a sex education culture and curriculum that excludes queer experiences, gatekeeps queer identities and promotes fear over pleasure. Her ability to connect the performer’s intimate tales with both humour and introspection are impressive as she lays out the Gay Agenda for the audience to soak in.

Ava Royale, Fae Salem, Polly St. Pearl and Veruca Sour revisit their bewitching numbers from the original performance. As LaMinge ponders philosophical questions of sexuality, identity and intimacy, the other performers present vignettes that bring their own experiences to the fore like dream sequences, inviting the audience to reflect on their own relationships, and perhaps find common ground with someone whose identity differs from their own.

The new additions to the cast perfectly complement the original team, bringing their own heartfelt tales to the arena. The audience had the pleasure of proceedings being opened by Ronnie Rum Punch, whose whimsical number set the tone for the stellar showcase to come.

Drag kings Justin Sider and Freddie Be Perfect team up for a performance that was adorable and powerful in equal measure, gleefully flirting with one another with the giddying energy of two head-over-heels teenagers in love, complete with a palpable, radiant energy of trans pride.

Another absolute stand-out of the evening was The Moesha, who shone under the spotlight with her soul-stirring celebration of Pasifika culture and dance, taking audiences on an spectacular journey from solemn contemplation to rowdy roof-raising joy in her short time on stage.

What makes BurLEZque’s performances so captivating is their commitment to providing theatre-goers an opportunity to learn more about queer identities and experiences through their talent. Though I expect many queer audience members may already be on board with the teachings of Pillow Talk, as recent events in Queensland have once again brought the government’s Religious Discrimination Bill into the spotlight, shows like Pillow Talk: Back in the Sack are a vital and powerful tool for reminding our counterparts that we are, in fact, human.

Pillow Talk: Back in the Sack is running until Feb 6 in the Pleasure Gardens. For more info head to fringeworld.com.au

Leigh Andrew Hill is an editor at OUTinPerth, with a BA from the University of Western Australia in Media Studies & Art History. Since 2005, Leigh has studied and practiced journalism, film-making, script-writing, language, contemporary performance and visual arts. Leigh is also a freelancer writer, and producer and presenter on RTRFM 92.1.

Images: Shortie Zito & Chayla Taylor

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