With "Matrix"-looking goons in shades and robot makeup aiming laser sights as attendees walked through the White Rabbit Cabaret's doors, it was clear from the start that "Futuristique II" was not a typical burlesque show.
Overseen by Indy DJ mainstays Shiva and Adam Jay, and strongly supported by visual design by Benji Ramsey and burlesque dance from the Rocket Doll Revue, "Futuristique" included just about the most classic old-school sci-fi setup you can imagine: Plucky band of rebels fights against totalitarian regime's legions of terror, turning their own strength against them along the way.
But the classic nature of these tropes is also what makes them ripe for a little revision, and I'm pretty sure The Matrix didn't have government/corporate robodrones being hypnotized and converted into burlesque dancers by club music. Maybe in the extended edition DVD. Sure, it's an excuse to string together scenes of sexy robots taking off their clothes; but let's face it, burlesque never needs much of an excuse.
If anything, "Futuristique" was a perfect example of the blurring of the lines between audience and performer. Attendees gleefully donned costumes ranging from steampunk pirate to Lady-Gaga-by-way-of-The-Jetsons, to the point that it was nearly impossible to tell who was a performer wandering through the crowd and who was just along for the ride.
And for those who hadn't dressed up beforehand, face painters were available to etch robot makeup on the face of anyone else who wanted to join either the plucky rebels or the legions of terror. By the time the show actually started, it already felt like you were in the dystopian government/corporate-complex-controlled world of the story.
The performance segment, which came towards the close of the night, felt a bit anticlimactic; after about 40 minutes of dancing and plot-related skits from Rocket Doll, it didn't feel like a big finish so much as just more of the same. But as noted above, if the only real downside of an event is that it leaves you asking "more, please," you're still on a heck of a ride. April 21 at White Rabbit Cabaret.