Birdy’s evening at the Voodoo Rooms was drawing to a close, but not before the most raucous show of the night! ‘Illicit Thrill – Licensed to Strip’ promised to be a real burlesque filthy Fringe feast.
From the moment I booked Illicit Thrill – Licensed to Strip, I knew this was going to be one of the more raunchier burlesque shows; I’m not exactly new to the show, and its reputation also precedes it.
Described as the Fringe’s shadiest late-night strip joint, and celebrating the overturning of the nil-cap strip-club policy, Illicit Thrill is where the party is at!
NOTE: This is the part where I mention that it’s late: the show is scheduled to start at 23:55 and finish at 00:55. So, being a single woman who has to get home in the dark, I diligently booked a taxi for what I thought was the very reasonable time of 01:15. It started a little late, but surely the show was bound to finish by then? Nope, I was wrong!
Illicit Thrill has a reputation for being downright filthy, but it’s also deeply respected as one of the best burlesque shows in town. The format is like most burlesque shows, where the performers take turns to come on stage (sometimes in duos and threesomes!) and tantalise the audience.
There’s also a bit of audience participation!
When the audience is seated waiting on the show to start, it’s nice to see some of the acts getting warmed up with the pole that’s been erected (oh my) on the stage, whilst others roam the aisles handing out the tipping dollars (yes, you get actual tipping dollars!).
Once the show starts, we get a few ground rules.
Mainly relating to where we can stick our tipping dollars, where not to stick our tipping dollars, what happens if you touch a performer (you have to take them home) and how to adopt the ‘BRACE’ position if it looks like one of the strippers is about to mount you (okay, and how to say ‘no’ if you don’t want that).
The audience is mixed bunch, with some well-versed Illicit Thrill veterans (one of whom was celebrating his birthday) mixed with first-time burlesque virgins. The room is absolutely buzzing, and everyone is raring to go!
The show itself
The show begins with the one and only Gypsy Charms – an absolute legend on the Edinburgh burlesque (‘Burghlesque’?) scene.
If you haven’t witnessed her Northern Lights (which go by many other names) by now, you’re missing out, and this is definitely the show for you! Gypsy is, as always, an absolutely fabulous opener and we start the show as we mean to go on.
We’re also joined by Roxy Stardust (having heard ‘Starmuff’ at some point during the night, I keep having to correct myself now!), Stacey Clare, Savannah Duvall, Ivy Paige, Belle de Beauvoir and the mysterious ‘Gimpy‘ – who I note has replaced the talented Pete Saunders from earlier in the night!
I wonder who that could be. Wouldn’t want to speculate!
One of my favourite performances of the show was Roxy Stardust performing a dirty – and highly entertaining – comedy version of Ursula’s Poor Unfortunate Souls from The Little Mermaid. It was great to see this side of Roxy, and she knocked it out of the park!
Another highlight was Stacey Clare, who was not only a fabulous performer who knew her way around a pole, but also got me and a few others in the audience wearing royal family masks. Luckily it wasn’t for long, and I only had to be Kate Middleton for a couple of minutes! Phew.
All the performances at Illicit Thrill were incredible, and the show didn’t let up for a second, with a great mix of sex, comedy and fun throughout. My voice was starting to hurt by the end, but that’s the price you pay at a burlesque show – much ‘WOOOOOO-ing’!
NOTE: Honestly, watching three burlesque shows so close together – and no cameras allowed at this one – meant that this show is now a bit of a blur. But I did have a FABULOUS time.
By that point in the evening, audience participation was a thing people were far more game for. Once Illicit Thrill veteran Brian celebrated his birthday with squirty cream, a banana and a no-hands shot – and after audience (me included) were sufficiently splashed with cream – it was Amadeus’s turn.
Amadeus from Poland won the raffle – oh yes, there’s a raffle – to win a lapdance from one of the evening’s ‘strippers’. He was invited up on stage, but before he got a dance, he had to guess whose bum he was feeling up out of numbers 1 through 4.
He was terrible at that game, so he ended up getting a lap dance from Gimpy.
This is the point of the night, Dear Reader, where I’m afraid I had to leave to get my taxi – so, I’m afraid I’ve no idea how Gimpy’s lap dance went, what happened after that, and how long the show actually went on for!
Illicit Thrill was a fabulous evening of titillation, filth and fantasy – and I loved every second of it! I was sad I had to leave to get my taxi having thought I’d given myself plenty of time, so bear in mind the show may overrun slightly.
I’ll be back, I swear!!!