House of Burlesque: Banked

House of Burlesque 'Banked', photographed by Sudden Island

Many people drunkenly crashed their way into 2020 via a 1920s-themed New Year’s Eve party with plenty of fringed dresses, sparkle and fizz. Much as I’m drawn to the fancy dress side of things – especially if I can make a costumed nod to Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot – I wasn’t sure whether that was something I wanted to dive into on 31st December. Fast-forward a couple of months and I’m beginning to see the appeal of some 1920s glamour. Why? Well, that femme fatale Tempest Rose convinced me.

As regular readers will know, I first discovered the thrill of a Tempest Rose show back in 2018, when I went to see the House of Burlesque Revue at the Underbelly Festival. That autumn, I attended one of their regular Saturday shows at Sway bar in Covent Garden and then, when this blog was on haitus last year, I was invited to join the House of Burlesque ladies in their new Friday home, Grace Hall, for a Summer Speakeasy (you can find my mini-review of this on Instagram). The venue is pure 1920s neoclassical glamour and was clearly going to be an inspiration for future HoB decadence, which I’m guessing is how the new show Banked came about.

House of Burlesque 'Banked', photographed by Sudden Island

The description of Banked sounds delightfully decadent, as we’re invited to “join the stars of the House of Burlesque for a night of high-end glamour, satire and the best of burlesque, as they enter a magical abandoned bank where the vaults are only opened every 100 years. Upon arrival you will be greeted by our glamorous bank clerks and given a number which represents a safety deposit box. Throughout the show numbers will be drawn randomly and we will find out what secrets our fantastical creatures have been keeping inside.” Now, burlesque is all about the tease, but this sounds like a whole new kind of tease! Just what would we find inside a burlesque performer’s box, I wonder? The show is described as:

An immersive, bohemian, postmodern experience where the roaring 1920s meet the tumultuous 2020s led by your Bank Manager for the evening, and Queen of provocateurs Tempest Rose – “a woman who oozes so much sex appeal she is probably illegal in several countries” (Recognise Magazine.)

At first, I thought I couldn’t imagine Tempest Rose as a ‘bank manager’, but then I imagined her telling me off for going overdrawn and… well, let’s just say that I think she’d be firm but fair. Banking would definitely be a lot more fun if it regularly involved fan dancing, tassel twirling, circus acrobatics and general cabaret shenanigans, to be honest. And it’s not as if we don’t all need a bit of cheering up at the moment, right?

House of Burlesque 'Banked', photographed by Sudden Island

House of Burlesque 'Banked', photographed by Sudden Island

House of Burlesque 'Banked', photographed by Sudden Island

Tempest has kindly gifted me some tickets, so I’ll be going along next month to (inevitably) unleash my usual raucous level of cabaret audience cheering, but I urge you to snap up some tickets yourself and get in on the action before the show ends on 24th April. If it’s anything like their previous shows it’ll be an absolutely stellar evening, and I think the images in this post prove that it’s a bloody marvellous way to start your weekend! Also, if you fancy trying out a few burlesque moves yourself, you can book a pre-show class (6.30pm to 7pm) to learn some showgirl tips and moves from one of the stars of the show, and enjoy a complimentary glass of fizz. Perhaps poured like this, who knows?

House of Burlesque 'Banked', photographed by Sudden Island

House of Burlesque: Banked is on every Friday night until the 24th April 2020 (except for 20th and 27th March) at Grace Hall in Bank, London. Doors open 7pm, show starts 8pm. All photography in this post is by Sudden Island.