Sauce is a suitably named show, both for its boozy antics and risqué burlesque. As charming as it is dazzling, the quality of the show and the calibre of the performers is impressive.
Spread over three floors, featuring two mezzanine-like balcony levels, The Brickhouse is an attractive space that mixes an industrial warehouse vibe with a slickly designed lounge aesthetic. Surreal, yet sensuous art adorns the walls and each level has its own bar. You’ll want to be sat on the ground floor for the best view of the stage. Sauce is a dining show, and a reasonably priced one at that. The staff are attentive and focused, but keep an eye on the service charge.
The first number was a lindy hop and jive number performed by Amber Topaz and Stephen Williams. Starting from a sultry tango, the number quickly changed gears and Amber and Stephen dazzled with an endless array of lifts and throws. This number sets the tone for the night with capable choreography and experienced performers.
Next up was the hilarious Peggy Sued (a creation of the wonderful Abigail Collins) who amused with her drunken Las Vegas showgirl persona. Her comic delivery was beat perfect and her physical comedy had the audience in stitches from the moment she clambered onto the stage (in the most un-ladylike fashion). Abigail then proceeded to pressgang two male backing dancers from the audience and perform Fever in a variety of positions that left little to the imagination. Her act continued to lots of applause and included the sort of acrobatics imported from the bedroom.
The compère of the night was Dizzie Heights, who lacked the timing and charisma of Abigail, but had plenty to do over the course of the evening. His rendition of the Josephine Baker Danse Banane was particularly fun. Dizzie has presence but could use a few more jokes and tighter material to keep the show ticking over.
The next act was the welcome return of Stephen Williams. He performed a great modern jazz routine, which incorporated elements of street dance and body-popping between displays of acrobatics. These gravity-defying sections of the act were as breathtaking as they were precarious, Stephen has an undeniable strength and dexterity as well as slick footwork. Stephen also performs the final act of the night and takes off (quite literally) with an aerial display that set pulses racing.
The audience was then treated to a song by the headliner, dressed memorably as flame-haired bombshell Jessica Rabbit (from the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit). Amber has a great voice, presence to spare and uses the stage well to build up her gag. With the song concluded Amber then enticed one lucky audience member to help her out, before beginning a sizzling striptease.
The most fun number of the night was Amber’s drunken lady-in-waiting dance. She was joined by Dizzie to really shake it to Outkast’s Hey Ya. Amber had the audience in gales of laughter with a suitably shambolic and staggeringly drunk exit from the stage. The costumes and kooky choreography combined to make this a foot-tapping number to remember.Amber Topaz presents Sauce is returning to The Brickhouse on 21 June, when it will run until 2 July. This is a great, well-rounded show that shouldn’t be missed.
Amber Topaz Presents Sauce. The Brickhouse, London. 21 June-2 July, £10-40.www.thebrickhouse.co.uk
Photo Credits: Rufus Exon (Amber Topaz and Stephen Williams), Thomas R. Grady (Amber Topaz), K. James (Abigail Collins)