My familiarity with burlesque extends to a scene I once saw from the film Liberty Heights, which is why I am so stoked on the fact that there is a burlesque production going down at the Refinery entitled BAM!.
“When we formed the company Flip Side, we knew we wanted to provide some alternative theatre for young people,” said Kristi Friday, an actor and creator of the production. “We wanted something fun and outrageous that would get people out to see a show and to have a good time. The idea was to create a burlesque show, but with puppets.”
Yes, puppets. Extra risquÃ©, sexy puppets? Let’s hope so.
If the idea of taking puppets and using them for the twisted purposes of mature humour doesn’t strike your fancy, there is something inherently wrong with you.
“This is our most absurd ambitious burlesque show to date,” said Friday. “Burlsesque is about so much more than stripping; it is about the reveal and how it happens.
Â Burlesque was also at its height in popularity at the time of vaudeville, so a lot of comedy was involved through song, dance and sketches.Â This was very appealing to us as we work with puppets. We knew that we had little limitations to what we could do and how far we could go with it.Â As long as we could build it, we could use it.”
Beginning the early stages of production in the spring, BAM! incorporates some ideas that the group wanted to try out in their previous productions but never had the chance.
“The first production, Bada Boom, got such a great response from audience members and sold out most of the run,” said Friday. “Lots of people asked us when we were doing another one, so we decided to do a sequel a couple of years later. This sequel was called Bada Bing. Again the show was met with a great response and sold out performances.Â But we still had some ideas we wanted to try out and so BAM! was created.”
The group wrote the script and built the puppets themselves, which is quite the feat considering there are close to 30 puppets used in the show. The production incorporates the handiwork of three separate puppeteers, two musicians and countless volunteers who have contributed to the overall project.
As for what to expect from the show, prepare to be entertained. Friday says she would like people to come, have a few drinks, sit back and laugh their asses off. I can do that. Hell, we can all do that.
Â “This show is meant to be entertainment at its wackiest,” she said.Â “I hope that people have a great time and leave with a smile on their face… and maybe feeling just a little bit naughty.”
BAM runs Nov. 18 to 21 and 25 to 28 at the Refinery.
image: Pete Yee