Art, Culture, Entertainment

Burlesque Gala Night @ Manchester Opera House review – future classic oozes with glamour

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Featured image: Johan Persson


Future-hit Burlesque The Musical dazzled Manchester with its world premiere this week, bringing new life to the 2010 cult classic. Lining the Manchester Opera House with a hot pink carpet, the gala night saw glitz and glam like never before. This new adaptation is littered with an all-star cast, showcasing the work of internet-sensation Todrick Hall, rising star Jess Folley, and Jackie Burns of Wicked. 

It’s hard not to be excited about this self-proclaimed ‘big new musical’; the team oozes with talent, directed and choreographed by Nick Winston, an international and West End Great.

The story expands on the original story, seeing Ali (Jess Folley) leave for New York in search of her birth mother. It’s an emotive twist, adding more depth to the character as she battles with finding power in sticking out. On her journey of finding herself, she discovers the tough but tantalising world of Burlesque, drawn in after being left stranded without belongings. 

The production spares no expenses, making extraordinary use of the rotating Opera House stage. The visuals are spectacular, adding layers of depth to the set design in the form of seamless backdrops and stunning videos. Some of the footage shown behind the performance is live, really drawing the audience into the show – it truly feels as though you are a customer at the club. 

Jackie Burns as Tess, brings a practised mastery to the stage that resonates throughout the cast. Joined by her brilliant friend and manager Sean (Todrick Hall), the pair have palpable chemistry. He drives the plot with his fabulous narrative and provides unobtrusive comedic nods to the audience.

It’s refreshing to see a contemporary musical use modern references in a way that feels timeless, bringing the story up to the present day, with the use of iPhones and internet slang.

This script and song writing may well be the creative team’s magnum opus. It stars instantly recognisable hit singles from the film such as ‘Welcome to Burlesque’, ‘Tough Lover’ and ‘Show me how you Burlesque’. New songs ‘Big’ and ‘What are Clothes?’ by the talented Todrick Hall and Jess Folley are exciting new inclusions. 

Choreography does not miss a beat, the cast are polished to a blinding shine at every turn, weaving various styles through performances effortlessly. It’s a non-stop cacophony of feathers, leather, glitter and entertainment. 

Burlesque the Musical is simply dazzling. It brims with creative mastery, overflowing with extravagance. With tickets already flying for its return in October, this show is on track to join the theatrical hall of fame. 

About the author / 

Jess Berry

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