If Cats Ruled the World
Burlesque production brings drama & tease to the stage
Story By: Emma Kalka
Photos By: Robert Michael Evans
While at first the idea of all the strong female leaders in the world actually being cats sent from outer space to smash the patriarchy may seem far-fetched and a bit odd, it does make for a good show.
Running over two weekends in August, burlesque troupe House of Tease joined forces with Lynn Lambert Productions to bring to the stage a unique show that is part theater, part burlesque, and thoroughly enjoyable. It seamlessly blended together comedy and thought pieces that left the audience pondering over the current state of feminism in the world as well as laughing and cheering.
P.U.S.S.I. WHIPPED came with the following synopsis:
“The CATS have been watching us and they are not happy. For a hundred years, they have sent down esteemed CAT leaders to infiltrate Earth by posing as famous women in politics, entertainment, and academia. Unfortunately their mercy mission to smash the patriarchy has failed. Now, they have returned with their P.U.S.S.I. Fleet to claim what’s rightfully theirs: complete and total rule of the universe.”
The show started out with the fleet returning and their leader - played by House of Tease’s Flowerbomb - declaring their mission in a series of meows through the use of a translator in a dog mask and bondage gear.
The show then launched into a journey through time, starting with a moving monologue and burlesque performance featuring Hedy Lamarr, a woman most known for her face, but whose scientific contributions led to the development of WIFI. The act was set to the solemn “Radium Girls” by The Orbweavers and accompanied by a slideshow of news clips showcasing the outbreak of radium poisoning in women who worked in factories painting clock faces.
From there, the show returned to a more humorous tone, featuring a tango between Hilary Clinton and Eva Peron - one of the funniest routines of the show by far - and then a duet with Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, which ended in both being sent back to space for failing in their mission by the cat leader.
Another more serious act included visits by feminist leaders of the past led by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, going through the history and progress of feminism throughout the years but ending with the warning that there is still more work to be done.
Overall, the show evoked many things from the audience. While at times serious, others laugh-out-loud funny, and sometimes just downright absurd, it all came together in a weirdly harmonious blend. And of course, there was plenty of sexiness with burlesque hallmarks such as glitter, tease and beautiful costumes.
Even the more humorous acts had pockets of seriousness that made important points, such as one of the final acts that tackled the concept of kimchi nyeon. Just because a woman wants to be pretty and feminine and buy pretty or expensive things, doesn’t mean she’s any less a feminist.
The writing was thought-provoking, moving, and got your attention, while each performer brought something a little bit different to the stage with their unique styles - the show also featured an incredibly diverse cast that included drag queens and women of color.
Even the stage “dogs” (rather than stage kitties) had their own moment in the spotlight, educating one of their members on how feminism is beneficial for women AND men before ending out the show with a wonderfully hilarious group routine.