REVIEW: The Burlesque Comedy Project, Serendipity, Frederick Street

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A COCKTAIL of comedy, burlesque and vintage glamour was served up at Serendipity this week.

The tea room, in Frederick Street, was the busiest I’ve ever seen as it was taken over by The Burlesque Comedy Project, one of the jewels in the crown of Sunderland’s first comedy festival.

Though I’ve seen both burlesque and comedy shows before, I wasn’t sure how the two would combine.

Turns out, they are good bedfellows. I guess because both offer up tongue-in-cheek entertainment.

With host Andrea Whitaker, in a basque and French knickers, at the helm, the format wasn’t burlesque dancers teasing off their clothes while tickling ribs simultaneously as I expected, but alternating sets of pure comedy and unadulterated burlesque.

I’d not heard of any of the comics before, but I’d definitely be interested in getting a second bite of the chuckle cherry with some of them. In particular, Washington comedienne Catherine Scott. She proved a highlight for me with her jokes drawn from her real-life experiences of being vertically-challenged, diabetic and single. She made a nod to North East family life too, referring to her grandma being so hard core that “she’s the only person I know who could go to Spain and drink water from the tap.”

Fellow comedienne Nana Chic, meanwhile, provided character-based comedy as she stepped on stage as Middlesbrough’s answer to Shameless, wielding jokes about teen mums and 30-something grandmas.

The comedy was punctuated with some slick burlesque. Most notably, Fifi Galore who put in a deliciously dark Marilyn Manson meets the Wild West performance.

Comedy is taking place in the city every day this week as part of Sunderland Comedy Festival, which closes on Sunday with Jason Cook and Steffen Peddie, from TV show Hebburn, at Union in Holmeside.

For the full line up visit www.sunderlandlive.co.uk.