Mx Burlesque Ireland is a unique competition, bringing modern burlesque to life by combining its rich historical tapestry with the modern performance-based art form, situating itself within the neo-burlesque revival. In 2022, the Miss Burlesque and Mr Boylesque Ireland competitions merged, relaunching as Mx Burlesque Ireland.
With the final only two weeks away, GCN caught up with the team of organisers and competitors of Mx Burlesque to find out more about this fabulous first-time event.
How does it feel to be bringing the competition back after Covid?
The Mx Burlesque Ireland team (MxBI): “We’re thrilled to finally bring our show back to a live audience. We announced our original lineup shortly before the first lockdown, and the performers have been waiting patiently, holding back these wonderful creations for so long. The whole way through they’ve been eager for a green light, so they can get this work on stage finally. The energy is going to be electric!”
Bear Lee There: “It’s great to see the competition back again after the Covid restrictions. It’s been a long time waiting since the last competition in 2019 and we were all ready to start again just before the first lockdown.
“It’s like walking back onto the stage and saying hello to an old friend you’ve missed and who has been silent. We’ve had to tweak things slightly to be more aware on stage and off that Covid is still present and we need to look out for each other.”
Kora Elle: “It feels incredibly exciting to have the competition back on again as it feels like a decade of holding onto ideas that you don’t really want to share early. It’s been tough to focus on the act of creation without a deadline, and the general state of the world has been no help, but at last, the goals are being worked on.”
“It also feels like a relief because at last, we get to show the world the wonders we have all been working on.”
Why did you decide to merge Mr and Ms Burlesque together?
MxBI: “Mx Burlesque Ireland runs in conjunction with Mx Burlesque Australia and Mx Burlesque UK. The decision to merge the two competitions was a response to what we were seeing in the community and hearing from our peers. When we ran Ms & Mr competitions, the performers were encouraged to choose the stream that best represented their onstage identity.
“The Mx competition is now open to all expressions of gender identity. The competition is dedicated to promoting an open and inclusive environment that gives all performers the freedom to be themselves so they can present their best art on an equal platform.
“Winners may choose the title that they identify with best – Miss Burlesque, Mr Burlesque, or Mx Burlesque, with Mx Burlesque being emblazoned on the sashes.
“In a commitment to making our space more welcoming and inclusive for our community, if you identify as Black, Indigenous or a Person of Colour, Disabled, Transgender or Non-Binary, you are not required to pay the application fee.”
How has the experience been since launching in January?
MxBI: “In January we opened up for new applicants to join the original 2020 lineup, and we were thrilled with the response and standard of the applications. We’ve hand-selected an incredible cast, and a stellar judging panel.
“We had an official launch party in The Sugar Club on May 15th, where we introduced 10 of our 11 dynamite finalists. It was a stellar night, and the audience connection was palpable, it also provided a necessary outlet for the performers to burn off some of that nervous post-Covid energy, and get a real feel for being back on stage.”
Bear Lee There: “Since the launch in January time has flown by and the competition is on the horizon. Two years of waiting means we’ve all had too much time to rethink acts or in some cases over think about them. From not being able to perform and now be heading for the biggest national competition, you feel very honoured to take part and at times a little scared, like you’re a newbie again.”
Can you tell us any of the performers that will be at the final?
MxBI: “We’re delighted to have Drag King extraordinaire Phil T Gorgeous hosting the Grand Final. We’ll have handover performances from Ms Burlesque Ireland’s 2019, Bella Curve, and Mr Boylesque Ireland 2019, Bobby Bordeaux.”
Daria Décolleté: “Daria Décolleté is the bunhead who turned to burlesque. With more than 20 years of dance training behind her, she has performed from New York to New Delhi and back again. A former stripper in the clubs of London, Daria burst onto the Irish burlesque scene in 2019 with the burning desire to entertain and tease.
“Within months of her debut, she had performed around the country, as well as at the Edinburgh Fringe, the Vodafone Comedy Carnival and Dublin Burlesque Festival where she was awarded Best Newcomer. She performs regularly with The Dirty Circus, Only After Dark Burlesque, Disgraceful Cabaret and Taboo Pole Show.
“Daria was crowned the Queen of Amore at the That’s Amore Burlesque Festival in Rome, in January and won Best Classic Act at the Croatian Burlesque and Cabaret Festival in May 2021. She is best known for her Bad Ballerina and Workin’ Out Barbie acts, combining comedy and satire with firecracker energy and legs up to here, she’s ready to get you hot under the collar and tight in the trouser!”
Bear Lee There: “Bear Lee There is from far off lands of chocolate and honey. He is the Bear that growls but never bites unless asked to. He brings his own mix of comedy, drama and classic burlesque to the stage with a dusting of sparkle and a fluff of feathers. He won the best newcomer at the Dublin Burlesque Festival 2018. He is also a talented set designer and florist.”
Bonnie Boux: “Booty poppin’, Irish jig hoppin’ and Slut droppin’ Bonnie Boux snatches hearts with her intoxicating mix of the classic Burlesque style, Hip-Hop vibes and her comedic timing that is second to none. Bonnie takes inspiration on and off stage by her mantra ‘Dance Yourself Free’, spreading the meaning and highlighting the importance of self-love through movement and having the craic.
“Winner of the Miss Burlesque Ireland Showgirl of the Year 2016, Miss Hell on Heels 2019 and in the top 30 European Queen of Burlesque 2019 finalists, Bonnie Boux Is buzzing to dance herself free on the MX Burlesque Ireland Stage!”
Memphis Shell: “This empress of the dark could twist your mind and steal your husband. Lips of poison and a body for sin, one look from her and your heart will give in. Plead all you like down on your knees and pray. Heaven can not help you as Hell turned her away.”
Bluebird Absurd: “Some may know her as the resident Human Pin Cushion with Ireland’s longest running freak show, the Rouges Gallery, or as one half of The Sideshow Sweethearts, but if not, Shock and Horror are her teddies and glitter.
“Her background in theatre, dance and gymnastics keep her seeking elegance, culminating in her unique aesthetic. From her alternative style to her grotesque performances, she loves to bring her audience to the freaky place….and also glitter!”
Lykan Animal: “The sexy beast that’s been unleashed, who has no consideration for your weak hearts or wet seats. This hirsute heartthrob returns to the MBI stage to tease, tickle and tempt. With a wolfish grin and a mind of sin, you never know what to expect. One thing is for sure though, you’ll be howling for more!”
Kora Elle: “She has been gracing stages in bursts of blue glitter since 2011. She hatched with Gorelesque and has branched
out to various forms of burlesque. This go-go dancing gal is sure to captivate you with her grin!”
Big Chief Random Chaos: “Born out of the ’90s Dublin Dance Scene, he is his own brand of freak out visual weirdness. His slapstick humour has both thrilled and dismayed audiences for the past three decades. He is a gorgeous half man, half woman, half fish.”
Virgo Moon: “Limerick City’s most scandalous witch has been captivating audiences with her high octane and heart-stopping burlesque performances. She started her journey in 2019 after a decade of dance training and she hasn’t stopped teasing since. Behind the scenes, Virgo is a researcher of all things witchcraft and theatre.”
Chaotic Queer: “Chaotic in name, chaotic in nature! This Belfast-based queer artist is fresh, all about body positivity, and puts the ‘sub’ in sublime. They bring bright colours, fantasy and lots of shiny things not only to the competition but for many years to come!”
Sweet T: “The flapper with a heart of gold, so sweet you’ll get a cavity! Born in the wrong era, Sweet T is a lover of all things Vaudeville and Vintage, lets party like it’s 1929!”
What can audiences expect from the final on July 30?
MxBI: “In short, they can expect to be blown away! The top Irish burlesque performers will be bringing their best work to the stage. They’ll be presented across three categories. Red Carpet, Striptease, and Unique. It’s going to be sexy, funny, glamorous, kooky, witchy, acrobatic, strange and hilarious.
“Audience members are encouraged to dress up and join in the fun. As per tradition, we have a best-dressed audience prize, and this year’s theme is ‘Sustainability’ so we want to see your best vintage, homemade, or second-hand glad rags. There is no such thing as too much.”
Bear Lee There: “The biggest best burlesque the country has seen. From myself, a deeper inner Bear will be exposed on stage with heart, body and soul.”
Kora Elle: “The audience can expect to see Kora come to her power. She will be dominating the stage and making sure that no seat is left dry. Keep the mops handy.”
Grand Final Celebrations will kick off with a Burlesque Workshop. Be sure to turn up early and grab some treats from the sparkle market.
The winner of the Grand Final will receive the Mx/Miss/Mr Burlesque Ireland title, a €500 cash prize, and the coveted crown and sash.
The runner-up will receive the Mx/Miss/Mr Burlesque Dublin title and tiara. Get your tickets here!
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