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Review: Angel Boo-lesque at Crackers

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Crackers Comedy Club (Broad Ripple); through Oct. 30

The age of angels and demons and dress-up is the perfect time for burlesque; and indeed, the schedule is so packed it seems like the Indy Burlesque Show That Never Ends. The Angel Burlesque troupe continued what has been a fantastic season for all things fishnet and corset-y with "Boo-lesque: Things That Go Bump And Grind In the Night," which opened Thursday at Crackers in Broad Ripple and continues with performances at 8 and 10:30 Friday and Saturday.

Master of ceremonies Jeff Angel played the role of hapless husband to the hilt — think every man-of-the-house in a sitcom ever, from Tim Allen to Everybody Loves Raymond, except looking like they just stepped out of the ninth circle of Hell. And the general theme gave the troupe and its leader, Katie Angel, the opportunity to fine-tune every skit to a creepy hue — lots of serial killers, zombies, devil dolls and the old stabby-stab-stab were at play here. Seriously, who knew you could make Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now" into a scary tune?

All-star burlesque performer Ray Gunn from Chicago joined in for a few routines that were simultaneously exhilerating and creepy, displaying a breathtaking skill at athletics and acrobatics and a subtlety that could change the mood with a turn of his head or a wink.

I particularly liked the pacing of the show — keeping things moving and interest high for a 90-plus-minute burlesque show is tougher than you think. Jeff Angel and company had great fun with the between-skit patter and a running joke about cheap candy, and I particularly liked the patient progress of the final half-hour, in which every lady took a quiet moment after each dance to don gloves and mask under red light. (You'll just have to trust me on that part — it sounds underwhelming to describe, but it's really cool in practice.) It all leads up to the finale of masked-and-gloved performers having their way with each other — a bit like all the scenes Kubrick didn't show you in Eyes Wide Shut. A bravura performance, and certainly a worthy one for Indy's finest burlesque season yet.

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