The art of the tease invades the Revival for an all-out Star Trek vs. Star Wars performance where clothing is the first casualty.
There are a few things you might learn at the Revival’s Star Wars vs. Star Trek burlesque show, Babes in Space the Sequel: The Wrath of Thong, that you didn’t even know you wanted to know: How much for a decent pair of tribble-inspired pasties? ($15 from the sexy blue-shirt at the merch table.) What is Queen Amidala wearing under all those robes? (They may have strayed from the canon here.) And at the end of the night, how does an olive-hued Orion slave girl get home? (The Ossington bus—she’s just like you!)
This is the second consecutive year for Babes in Space, an all-geek, all-sexy show produced by (and with performances by) Toronto burlesque dancer Red Herring. She has learned much of what she knows from local expert Coco Framboise, who holds classes on Wednesdays at the Fierce Fitness Studio on College Street, but Herring also extols the virtues of picking things up from YouTube (as she did with bellydancing). At various times, the crimson-haired lifelong Trekkie, who also goes by Reena Smith, has tried her hand at everything from musical theatre to ballroom dancing to stripping. “There is a certain line between stripping and burlesque, but the line is very thin,” she says. “Burlesque is all about the art of the tease—it’s just how far you push that tease, and the narrative you bring to it.”
And what better narrative to bring than the rabidly beloved interstellar adventures of Star Trek and Star Wars? While they do play up the rivalry between the two, there’s plenty of room in the show’s dozen or more acts for both franchises to bare all—so for every Amidala discovering her own dark side (performer Keela Watts) there’s an aerial Borg dancer navigating her way around a suspended cube (Miranda Tempest). And taking the award for “Best Ever Use of William Shatner’s cover of ‘Common People’” is BoylesqueTO’s Patastrophic Sexapeel, whose cheeky turn as Captain Kirk brings the show to a triumphant close.
Based on the audience’s cheering at the beginning of the night, things seem pretty evenly split between the various Wars and Treks of the stars, but even Red Herring has her convictions: “I am a huge nerd, and I absolutely love sci-fi,” she says. “I grew up a Trekkie, but the nerd world absolutely loves Star Wars. And I have the love-on for the original Star Wars—but we’re gonna ignore the rest.” Strong fighting words, but maybe they’re fair: Episodes I through III did bring us the sniveling Anakin Skywalker, after all, and Jar-Jar Binks with his terrible language conventions.
Thanks to the success of the inaugural Babes in Space show, this year features two performances, and this Thursday’s roster will be a slight change-up from Sunday’s show—same great theme, with a few acts replaced by shiny new models. Without giving too much away, rest assured Vader has never looked this sexy doing such ungodly things with a lightsaber.