There’s too much bad burlesque in the world. We are one more ill thought-out, slow glove removal and Ann Summer’s corset away from staging a mass intervention and enforcing lectures on striptease’s potential to be politically subversive. That’s why an act like Lolo Brow is such a relief, not so much a breath of fresh air as a tornado of rhinestones, debauchery and vulgarity. Plus, seriously great hair*.
Attention Seeker is part spin-the-wheel of her greatest hits, part lip-sync extravaganza, with utterly no respect for the traditional audience-artist boundaries of performance. There is no coy teasing in her routines, she’s full on and powerful. It’s an unrestrained free-for-all with the ferocity of a drag queen and an unbridled sexuality that is being offered on her terms. Though the power is in our hands to select which direction the show will go, it is Lolo who is clearly in charge here.
An apparently random choice as to which side of Lolo we want to see tonight gives us a freakshow of her hammering nails up her nose. Encouraging audience members to draw on her and staple gun paper to her bum, Lolo Brow’s body becomes the site of interaction as well as its instigation. She (literally) straddles the thin barrier between revulsion and desire, pulling a condom up into her nasal cavity and out through her mouth with the sensual glee of a woman in a Flake advert.
Her costumes are stunning and original; a bejewelled white suit like the drag Elvis of your dreams, gowns which go from vintage elegance to Vegas-trash-Barbie-badassery in a whirl of zippers. The best comes in the form of our choice of finale, ‘Captain Consumerism’, where she tops a Pirates of the Caribbean fantasy of brocade and sequins with a terrifying prosthetic skull face.
Lolo Brow is a performer with a full database of movement styles, employing dance training with clowning to truly animate her looks into full characters. Beyond being extensions of her self-confessed exhibitionist personality, they exist on the edge of more satirical, darker themes. As our sparkly captain strips to a skeleton, the outline of the bones glittering against the dark mesh of the body suit, the effect is humorous and erotic, but with a menace. A skinless carcass dancing sexily, still gripping onto its earthly bling is a symbol for our capitalist doom. This is the power of burlesque to be satirical and seditious, a kiss that might just turn into a bite.
An hour in the company of Lolo Brow is one well spent. She inspires a religious zeal in her audience that deserves its own church. She would make a marvellous saint – a vision dripping in Catholic gold and jewels. Hallelujah, sign me up.
*I’m biased, obviously. But if there is more than one green-haired person in the room, it can all get a bit Highlander (‘there can only be one…), so better to find sisterhood than face a fight to the death.
Lolo Brow: Attention Seeker is at VAULT Festival until March 17th. For more details, click here.