Walking in to Tilted Torch: Illuminopolis the idea is to be transported to another world - one of light, music and expression. Our aide on this journey was our bartender, Shortstaxx who bawdily introduced the performers as they sauntered out, lights blazing. She worked double time at this Sunday afternoon show, as it was more of a matinee crowd than the late-night party goers that are normally seen at Tilted Torch productions. With humor and a powerful cadence she coaxed the matinee crowd into the lit up wonderland of Illuminopolis.
Some familiar faces reappeared, with Miss Joule starting things off. As the room went dark, loud music boomed and she wriggled out from behind the curtains to reveal a completely black light reactive costume and two blazing neon yellow scarves with which she danced. The dance was hypnotic and transportive. Indeed, I felt as though I was watching an alien in a strange land writhe for the audience. The amazing Malibu followed and was, characteristically, a show stealer. Walking out as mad scientist, she used a fire dance to breathe life into a robot companion on the stage. I don't know what it is exactly that she she does to make herself so insanely watchable - but she always owns the stage.
|The Sweater Set|
Two more performances rounded out the first half of the show. The first was gorgeous belly dancer Na'la as a wandering woman, new to Illuminopolis and wrapped in rags. Steadily Short Staxx helped her unwind, revealing a glowing costume, and beautiful dance, beneath.
The final act before the second half was by jazzy indie folk band The Sweater Set. Though the two buttoned up and giggly girls initially seemed out of place in the seedy underworld of Illuminopolis, they ended up as show stand outs. Emotive, genuine, and unique, they were crooners from a different era which lent a hazy, old timey bar, feel to the event that actually worked beautifully. The small venue, the charmingly lewd bartender, dancing girls and dreamy tunes really encapsulated the feel of a scifi bar. I only wished that they had all performed something together, setting up the scene in it's entirety.
At this point, Short Staxx was guiding us through, introducing each character's performance as if they were walking into the bar. The pretense was forced at best (a drunken crying girl is at the end of the bar belly dances to 'cheer up') but suspension of disbelief is requisite in a good audience member, and it's easy to ride on the enthusiasm of the performers. For the second half the same performers treated us to variations on a theme. I won't give away all the surprises, but the costumes were bigger and brighter, the fire was hotter, and the performers less clothed. (But I will say, I was excited to see the LED hoop action Miss Joule rocked in the second half...) The standout of the second half was Na'la's radioactive belly dance while draped in flashing LED strings.
It was a brief engagement, wrapping up in an hour. I recommend an evening showing (because, really, you are SO going to want to drink and dance afterward) and an open mind. I expected to enjoy Illuminopolis, and I am happy to say that my expectations were beautifully met.
There are still a few shows left - so if you are in for a bawdy, naughty, lit up treat - I suggest buying a ticket to a land called Illuminopolis.
photo credits: Devon Rowland Photography