Singer Betsy Harmony is the hostess with the mostest at A Midsummer Night’s Tease cabaret night at Alveston Manor Hotel on 4th July. Betsy and show producer Sam Jenkins tell Gill Sutherland all about the fabulous event.
How would you describe A Midsummer Night’s Tease?
Sam: In a nutshell it’s a bit of an old fashioned variety show. It’s an eclectic mix of lots of different types of acts brought together seamlessly by our host Betsy Harmony.
The general vibe is a mystical mix of midsummer madness including some acrobatics, hula hoop and magic in addition to ‘boylesque’ [male burlesque dancer] and some fabulous burlesque routines and fan dances interspersed with the dulcet tones of Betsy.
The structure is like a normal theatre show, with two halves and an interval. It’s a relaxed atmosphere – people can pop to the bar for drinks anytime and we expect chatting and whooping!
Betsy: I will be encouraging the whooping – it’s all about having fun. In burlesque the host will often start by saying the more you scream and shout the more they will take off!
So you’re hoping for a lovely summer’s evening at the manor?
Sam: Yes, for this particular show we are looking to bring cabaret to a more intimate setting in a venue befitting the Midsummer vibe and if the weather is good there will be interval drinks in the garden. Although we have traditionally put on theatre shows we wanted to offer something different to enable us to continue to offer an alternative option to traditional theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
And you are raising money for charity too…
Sam: The show has given us the opportunity to raise some money for Myton Hospice. This is my way of saying thank you to them for looking after my good friend Magic Dave [Dave Matthews of Magic Alley who sadly died in April].
Betsy, you are hosting, tell us about that.
Betsy: I’m really looking forward to it – there are lots of people to introduce you to. And I can’t do a show without singing as well. Songs will have a summer theme from me including Gershwin’s Summertime and some more fun numbers too. There are plenty of other surprises in store though – hold on to your wellies!
You’re known for your wonderful outfits – what have you got planned?
Betsy: I’ve got various outfits lined up – I can promise ‘flitter’ (as in ‘fat glitter’!), feathers and fairy dust thrown in for good measure.
We’ve seen your wonderful singing performances, have you done much hosting before?
Betsy: On and off. I’m now officially in my 32nd year of showbusiness. I started very young! Through all my different performing faces I’ve hosted quite a few times – including most recently the Valentine’s tease at the Play House. It’s quite thrilling because the audience doesn’t really know what’s coming up. It’s my job to give them a giggle and help them relax and enjoy themselves.
As a host you have to be a bit spontaneous too, you never really know what’s going to come your way. Although obviously you want to take the evening in a certain direction – make sure things don’t get out of hand and that the audience are involved. It’s quite exciting to think that anything could happen – but at the same time be in control to make sure the audience are on board.
The saucy burlesque elements might worry some would-be audience members, can you explain exactly what’s involved?
Sam: There’s a misunderstanding that burlesque is a kind of stripping that you would get in a strip club – it’s totally not! Burlesque is the art of tease and some performers don’t take anything off – that’s the tease. It could be a fan dance – fans so big you can’t see anything. It’s about taking the mickey out of stereotypical stripping and it is often very comedic. It’s not comparable to someone in a thong hanging upside from a pole. There’s a certain irreverence to it, and at the same time it’s very classy – I don’t book the kind of performers that do ‘bump and grind’ that’s definitely not the right kind of vibe for Stratford. It’s more of a theatre show – it’s just a really good giggle and highly entertaining!
Finally why should people come along to the show?
Sam: It’s a blooming good night out! There are lots of different acts from comedic to magical – it’s a bit different, a bit sexy. We don’t take ourselves too seriously – and it’s not a huge amount of money to spend for a great night out.
Tickets are available from midsummernightstease.com at £20 and £25 (VIP, includes a drink and is table-seated). Age guidance: over 15.
Missy Malone is a heady 1950s-inspired bombshell. An established actress and model, she commands an impressive list of skills and talents ranging from traditional fan dance to striptease and is trained in both static trapeze and stilt walking.
Kimmy Von Shimmy has since performed for several shows including The 100 Watt Club, Cue Tease Burlesque and the Fling Festival. She’s sassy, fun, and full of surprises…
Jester Styles promises a different type of close-up magic, taking inspiration from the places and people around him and infusing street magic and mind-reading.
Nula Hula from cabaret, corporate, big-tops, festivals and street theatre, Nula Hula’s hoop shows have mesmerized audiences nationwide.
Enigma Variations is a fully trained professional dancer, choreographer and teacher with decades of experience in the performing arts industry.
Deux Ailes are a female acrobatic and aerial duo, combining grace, style and gravity-defying agility both in the air and on the ground.