A charming, cheeky and downright hilarious tale of a girl in search of normal and finding naughty, Zoe Charles, aka Lady Cheek, headmistress of The Cheek of It! School of Burlesque and Cabaret, premiered her one-woman show 'Memoirs of a Slutsky' at the Mimetic Festival in Enfield last weekend (Saturday 20th July 2013).
I was in tears of laughter from start to finish as she told tales of of parental exorcisms, womanhood ceremonies with her hippy mother, John Major the cat being used to cover her Father's unmentionables, imitating Victorian ghosts and being the only Jew in her family, with deft and affectionate characterisation and wit.
Thanks to her years spent as a burlesque performer, Zoe's physical comedy is perfectly polished. Capable of captivating her audience with a simple tilt of her head, she understands the power of physicality in acting. As she slips seamlessly between the characters of her mother, her father, her sisters and her childhood selves, she brings them to life with distinct and personal gestures, so we always knew exactly who she had become.
After studying Theatre at Brighton University, Zoe began burlesquing and set up The Cheek of It! in 2007, but her love affair with performing springs from a much earlier time. A time we can all empathise with. A time, shut up in our bedrooms, mirror propped up against the wall in front of us, the only song which truly expresses our emotions playing at full volume, when we dance, and dream of that future spotlight. In Zoe's case, the tune is 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' and she performs her own routine from the age of twelve, while wearing a long black wig and a yarmulke embroidered with the star of David.
Part 1 ends there, with young Zoe, hopeful and bright-eyed, looking forward to a time when fame would beckon. Now, she tells us, she is very famous. In Serbia.
This was only Part 1 of 'Memoirs of a Slutsky', and Part 2 is coming in October. You can follow @_ZoeCharles to find out when.
The Cheek of It! School of Burlesque and Cabaret is holding beginners and advanced burlesque courses from September. Find out more HERE.