The Empire Strips Back; Star Wars Burlesqued At The Palais

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By Henry “OH BOY Wan Kenobi” Shires

Having been totally gutted a week earlier when we lost our kindly reserved media seats for statuesque superstar stripper Dita Von Teese’s The Art Of The Teese (to a particularly constipated Thursday night traffic on bloody Punt Road), I was sceptical about the second in the series of two Burlesque shows, at our local cultural icon, The Palais. Which seemed like it might be a poor second best.

However, though I can only compare Dita’s sell-out show by hearsay (some die-hard burlesque fan friends described it as “the best burlesque show they had ever seen” no less!), THE EMPIRE STRIPS BACK turned out to be one of the most all round entertaining evenings I have had for, quite literally “years” (Note to self: Perhaps I need to get out more?).

This show, which like burlesque itself (which comes from the Italian word “burla” which means mockery or ridicule), started as a three-night-run joke. But that was in Sydney in 2011. And it has been going from strength to strength (or should I say “force to force”?) ever since.

This show managed to combine quite a few of my favourite things – and I’m not even a Star Wars tragic.

I will gloss over-appreciation of the beautiful bodies, mostly female, which were quite glossy enough without my help. And in order to avoid getting myself exiled to The Death Star, in these highly sensitive times. But suffice to say that no I did not have a light sabre in my pocket for the evening. And was, if anything, just “excited to see the show”.

And instead, move straight to the music, costume and staging. The highlights of which included:

Three crimson-clad Imperial Guards stripping in sexy unison to Die Antwoord’s blistering Baby’s On Fire.

Han Solo pulling of all of Michael Jackson’s dance moves and his clothes (by which I mean his, Han Solo’s clothes, not Jacko’s! That would have been really, really weird, especially as poor Michael

is now eight years dead) to Jacko’s Smooth Criminal.

And finally the grand grind finale of six female Storm Troopers dominating the stage and the entire auditorium to The Prodigy’s storming, I Got The Poison.

As well as being erotic, which it was on more than a few occasions, TESB is also witty, funny, exciting and spectacular. As well as having the requisite requirement of Star Wars trivia for the Empire die-hards.

In other words, good all-around entertainment. If not quite for “all the family”.

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