FRINGE INTERVIEW – Lola Labelle, Circus Burlesque

This year’s Fringe programme has a significant number of shows which are not afraid to twirl their tassels and shake their tailfeathers.

We’re of course talking about the explosion of cabaret and burlesque shows, genres which have grown steadily in popularity over the past few years and which are now very much part of the fabric of the Fringe itself.

One such show is Circus Burlesque, appearing at the Assembly Rooms.

Lola Labelle

Lola Labelle

We spoke with its producer and one of its stars, Lola Labelle.

“The show’s a mix of circus and burlesque,” says Lola, “with a lot of comedy in there too.”

“We take the Seven Deadly Sins and have a routine based on each of them. The whole show is inspired by the Victorian circus tradition – with a modern burlesque twist.”

And can she reveal any of the show’s highlights?

“I don’t want to spoil any surprises!” she says. “But our ringmistress – Tempest Rose – does perform one great song with a lot of audience participation at one point.

“And there’s a great big razzle-dazzly finale – the show definitely finishes with a bang!”

It’s Lola and the show’s first time in Edinburgh – so is she looking forward to it?

“Absolutely!” she says. “It’s an honour to be playing at the Assembly. We’ve never been to Edinburgh before and I’ve no idea what to expect!

“We do have a few tricks up our sleeve for when we get there though…”

Lola’s performed with many fellow cabaret artistes – such as Desmond O’Connor – in London, where she is based.

Tempest Rose - one of the stars of Circus Burlesque

Tempest Rose - one of the stars of Circus Burlesque

So, what is she hoping to catch in Edinburgh when she gets here?

“The big international acts that you don’t often get the chance to see,” she says. “Definitely the Tiger Lillies; and I really want to see Ali Cook, the magician too.”

Lola is originally from LA but has been based in London for the last two years.

There, she has been performing on the cabaret scene regularly, and last year started the House of Burlesque: a collective performing group, which Circus Burlesque is part of.

What does she put the success of the genre down to?

“There seems to be a real interest in burlesque and circus right now,” she says.

“And in all my time performing, I’ve never found anyone who hasn’t left a show and not enjoyed it!”

“It appeals to real mix of people too – both male and female. It has such a feel-good atmosphere too!”

It’s hard to disagree with that. Go to a burlesque show with an open mind, and you’re very likely to be entertained, have a good time and leave with a smile on your face.

By incorporating circus into her show, Lola looks to have created an appetising mix of genres which is likely to appeal to a wide audience. Can she sum up Circus Burlesque in a few words?

“Wow,” she says, thinking for a moment.

“How about: captivating, energetic and intriguing?”

We’re sold – and will be taking our place at the ringside when Lola’s circus rolls up into town next month.

Circus Burlesque runs from the 5th to 30th August (not the 23rd) at 9.20pm at the Assembly George Street.

Tickets are available on the Assembly website

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