Miss Polly Rae – The All New Hurly Burly Show, Leicester Square Theatre

“It’s not about the sex,” croons Miss Polly Rae in one of this burlesque show’s uproarious musical numbers. “It’s the eyes and the teeth, the shimmy and the shoes.” She should possibly have added props and sets, which do so much to make her new show a sumptuous visual spectacle.

William Baker’s direction and Ashley Wallen’s choreography combine to find every available innuendo from the pop songs lovingly crafted into saucy striptease routines. Whether as a nun sashaying to It’s a Sin or writhing in bedroom negligee to a slow, sensual version of Michael Jackson’s Bad (reworked as one half of a dirty phone call), Rae displays a sense of humour every bit as naughty as the gradual removing of clothing.

Rae is at her best when delivering her own vocals. When she and her backing troupe, the Hurly Burly Girlys, resort to lip-synced vocals, it is often so that they can work on a routine that, in its freneticism, loses some of the charm so evident throughout. An exception is a brilliant routine with Polly and her girls bedecked in kimonos and parasols, performing to a medley of Japanese Boy, Hung Up, Umbrella and Naked in the Rain, which combines sauciness and musicality in a way that defines so much of the evening.

Less successful are the Hurly Burly Girlys’ solo performances. Each demonstrates accomplished ability in both dance and comedy. Unfortunately, in most cases, the choreography does not do them justice. They could each do with routines that better showed their abilities rather than just displaying their assets.

Author: Scott Matthewman

Formerly Online Editor and Digital Project Manager for The Stage, creator of the award-winning The Gay Vote politics blog, now a full-time software developer specialising in Ruby, Objective-C and Swift, as well as a part-time critic for Musical Theatre Review, The Reviews Hub and others.