We sat down with glamour queen Sugar du Joure, who has been working her luscious toosh off throughout Perth’s Fringe Festival, performing in countless shows with her unique brand of character-heavy burlesque. Sugar is gaining renown internationally for her special blend of comedic talent and striptease, and she’s agreed to share her secrets and tips with us!
LVC: What is it that drew you to burlesque originally?
SDJ: Burlesque is such an inclusive style of performance it is definitely not limited in terms of what a performer may reveal onstage. I once saw a performer pop a bottle of champagne and hold it between her bosom as she poured it into the glasses of her audience members. Burlesque performers seek to surprise and delight within their acts, and they are always so entertaining to watch.
LVC: You clearly have a flair for comedy – in fact you had one routine at LVC’s Hey Hey It’s Cabaret game show all about how to create the perfect burlesque act and “face” was actually a big part of that. Can you explain how you incorporate your comedy skills into your burlesque routines?
SDJ: I always want to provide my audience with a punchline, just like every burlesque performer has a ‘reveal’. All you need is a basic concept and a way to ridicule it. One of my favourite acts is my ‘Toothpaste Act’ I start onstage as a serenading tube of toothpaste, who becomes agitated and squeezes herself from her tube, revealing a minty swirl of a costume underneath. A concept so simple, yet so ridiculous to imagine!
LVC: Does comedy have a place in Classic Burlesque?
SDJ: Comedy can certainly have a place in classic burlesque. Consider the Golden Age of burlesque, mainly expanding over the 1920’s to early 1960’s We had history making comedic acts from Charlie Chaplin, Lucille Ball, Jerry Lewis, and Abbott and Costello to name only a few. Music and comedy went hand in hand in the Vaudeville years when burlesque was born. Comedy is very much a part of traditional, classic burlesque.
LVC: Your first group comedy routine was the Mangy Cats routine – can you talk us through the storyline of this piece? (Watch it below!)
SDJ: The mangy cats routine is hilarious to me because it plays on the very overdone act in the burlesque scene, as everyone loves the sexy, kitty cat onstage. When my students performed they pretended to be poor kittens wanting to be adopted, but ended up hissing, scratching, and generally trying to be as unappealing as possible to the audience. They loved it! When you can surprise your audience with the unexpected you will always get a bigger laugh.
LVC: Why should students who are NEW to burlesque try the comedy course?
SDJ: Newbies to the burlesque stage should consider incorporating comedy into first time acts because it is a great way to get over a fear of being ridiculed onstage. If the audience laughs when you want them to laugh, you will feel like you have the upper hand.
LVC: Why should PROFESSIONAL or EXPERIENCED burlesque artists consider incorporating comedy into their acts?
SDJ: Experienced performers should try comedy because it’s a great way to get the audience on your side. Performers can sometimes lose the attention of an audience when they see classic after classic at a time. When your audience can laugh with you they will always be entertained, and you don’t have to stop being sexy either!
LVC: You recently dipped your toe in the stand-up comedy pool by combining standup and burlesque in one act at Cinderella’s Secrets at Fringe World – can you describe one of the challenges you faced doing this?
SDJ: Really my main struggle was managing my time between my jokes and my striptease. Once I started talking with my audience I didn’t want to stop! I was restricted by my two minute music track before my strip. I will have to allow more time in the future!
xox Lady Velvet Cabaret