The Variety Gala 2017 produced by the highly acclaimed Bonita Danger Doll was a show to die for. Certainly something I would mark as one of the top shows for Christchurch this year, so if there’s more, then a VIP table is no longer a luxury, it’s a must have. As I entered, I was greeted by the lovely door staff, had my ticket taken, and I wandered to the bar for a beer before the show began. After being served by the very friendly Halo Venue bar staff I enjoyed the pre-show entertainment; live music by the one and only Bonita Danger Doll herself.
Then the show began. I was somewhat ready for what I was about to experience after seeing the line up but holy goats, it was better than I had imagined. The MC, Miss La Vida, carried the show perfectly; even with the challenging task of covering for longer-than-expected set changes between acts. Her comedy was on point and so were her hilarious references to good old Timaru (Timaz!).
Act One was quite the roller coaster consisting of Amy Leigh showing her strength on Aerial Hoop, Shortie Georgie & Tacky Annie with their incredibly synchronised Swing Dance, Mystical Jynx with his mindblwing powers of quick change and a very teasing Burlesque piece.
Act Two kept going up and up with a stunningly slick and surprisingly strong Trapeze act by Lyah Gusmao, an absolutely captivating Burlesque act by the famous Bonita Danger Doll, insane Magic by Josh Grimaldi where he made birds appear from out of a picture, a balloon and even fire! And then a group Burlesque act by The Burlesque Collective which I would compare to a sexy charlies angels.
In between, we saw a Fashion Show by Kabella Baby, an assortment of rockabilly outfits available for sale to spice up your summer rockabilly wardrobe.
Finally Act Three – but the energy doesn’t stop. Featuring Megan Pyne performing on Pole, Ruby Ruin showing her diverse skills in style with a super hot Burlesque act, Sports Suzie as her ‘uglier and less talented sister’ having us all in hysterics, Marcello Foca wowing us with his fire spinning, and to top it all off, Bonita Danger Doll performing her internationally traveled Martini Glass act which has earned her recognition as Christchurch’s queen of classic burlesque.
My biggest highlights of the show would have to be as follows in no particular order:
- Miss La Vida’s personality and awareness of not only the audience but also the stage. She made an opportunity of everything. Through the evening she played a game called ‘name age profession’…. well, she did her best but boy she had everything completely wrong each time but damn was it funny. If you ever see a show starring Miss La Vida, I would highly recommend checking it out.
- Mystical Jynx (Josh Hart) is seriously, swear to god AMAZING. I mean, have you ever seen a girl change from a short pencil dress kinda dress to a full blown ball gown? And then what if I said she changed dress SEVERAL TIMES IN A ROW! All in the blink of an eye. This guy is New Zealands very first Quickchange artist and holy shit is he good.
I actually first met Josh while is was at Hagley Theatre Company and he was doing his design course. I immediately knew that he would be an absolute wizard of his art. So again, if you ever see a show starring Mystical Jynx then whatever it takes, GO SEE HIM PERFORM!
- Betty Bling, Sport Suzie’s ‘uglier and less talented sister’. I find these days it’s not often I can be completely taken away into another world in fits of laughter but Sport Suzie’s character Betty Bling had me there. She wasn’t a very clever soul. She sang to her teddy and then did some surprisingly shit magic which had the audience in absolute tears, she rode a huge giraffe unicycle but first she pegged the front of her dress up so it wouldn’t get caught. Her one liners were absolute gold and delivered a not notch performance. If you ever see a show starring Sport Suzie or one of her other characters, then it’s definitely not a good idea to turn the opportunity down.
So all in all the Variety Gala 2017 was a great success. With a wonderful atmosphere that began from the moment you stepped in the door. The variety of skills on show were just incredible, from dance to burlesque, circus to magic, and comedy; it had a fine balance of everything. An incredibly professional show, with well managed ticketing, set, backdrops, and lighting but also to the truly insane quality of acts from performers who travel the globe!
This show has the Heaphy Seal Of Approval. Final rating: 10/10