Velma Celli and friends tantalise at the Hippodrome
Cabaret meets drag and drag meets Velma Celli in an engaging night of song, dance, comedy, burlesque and acrobatics in her self-titled show at Hippodrome in the West End.
Brimming with attitude and spunk, Celli steals your attention as she enters the room, decked out in black sequined formal wear, sporting a blazer with tails, matching shorts, black satin bra, bowtie and fishnet tights. Charming the crowd with her rendition of Ella Fitzgerald’s Cry Me a River, she interjects verses with banter as she sips a fan’s cocktail and sits in the laps of attractive men, twirling their hair and charismatically flirting with the audience on whole.
With a talented line-up of friends including The Voice contestant Jordan Lee Davies, circus artists Jonathon Finch and Ben Brown, and burlesquer Jolie Papillion, there’s never a dull moment.
In his hand-balancing, contortion and acrobatic act, Finch is stirring, teasing the audience as he strips down to his undergarments to Peggy Lee’s Fever. Mounting stilts, upside down on his hands, bending his body at angles that are painful to watch, he stays in character and keeps you holding in your breath for the better part of his performance.
Brown’s aerial hoop and contortion styling is entertaining and intense as he moves and poses to a sexier, slow version of Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This). Hanging from the hoop by his shoulder blades, this artistic expression adds a real element of creativity, but set to popular music is still in keeping with the panache and vibe of the show.
Celli and Davies are energetic in their duet of Suddenly Seymour from the musical Little Shop of Horrors. The piece comes to life as the pair incorporates drama and blocking into the number, and their chemistry on stage is light-hearted and humorous to watch.
Racy and suggestive, Jolie Papillion excites the crowd to the sound of popular jazz as she slips from her cream-coloured flapper dress to reveal bold pearl lingerie. As she takes it all off piece by piece, she uses large light pink feather fans to seduce and allure in an attractive dance number that has you gawking.
With some obvious witticisms and crudity aside, the fusion of styles and acts complement one another well to deliver an evening of fun and folly that you hope could last for just one more song.
For further information and future events visit Velma Celli’s website here.
Watch the video for Velma here: