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Burlesque Afternoon Tea

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published November 22nd 2010
Sometimes it's the quiet ones you need to watch out for. And sometimes it's the most placid seeming occasions that can be the most steamy... Or at least that's what the lovely lasses from Time for Tease will have you thinking when they're gently, but firmly, introducing you to a new kind of afternoon tea time experience: A Burlesque Afternoon Tea.

They prescribe a bit more than a caffeine to get you through the afternoon... A bit more than tiny sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and a bit more even than the sugar hit of scones with jam and cream or tiny pastries. They say that it's not really picking you up unless there's a bit of guttural jazz crooning, some saucy dancing, witty banter, musical pastiche and a dabble of genteel female nudity. Afternoon Tease, their signature dish, is a full burlesque show just after luncheon; with different acts and performers at every performance, so you can go again and again and it's always fresh.

Each 'act' is broken up by an appearance by the Gateaux Vivants, a variant of the Tableaux Vivants – who were the scantily clad, but motionless, beauties deemed acceptable by the sensors protecting war-time sensibilities who outlawed anything too risqué. Basically these are lovely posing ladies wearing not too much but standing very still. The Gateaux variant demands a culinary addition to the act – often cakes of ever decreasing sizes...

There are two clubs that host this event. On the second and last Saturdays of the month the girls (and sometimes boys), and their guests, are at The Pigalle Club , a lush lounge under Piccadilly, and on the first and third at Volupté. This event is all class and comedy and nothing crass - after all it's a burlesque show performed to an audience who start out sober.

The afternoon begins with your waitress – wearing a uniform that's a cross between that of the Ritz circa 1920 and a French maid – seating you at your table in front of the usual silvery shining afternoon tea paraphernalia and pouring the bubbly. The sandwich course is served to the first act, usually musical, usually comedy, then the Gateaux Vivants distract tea-goers while the course is cleared and the scones arrive. The afternoon is usually structured so that it warms up as you do, but if you need any help relaxing your inevitably charming waitress will be able to serve you a cocktail, as well as a teatime treat, to lubricate your mood.
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Why? It's a bit like wonderland: the best tea party in town!
When: Saturday afternoons
Where: Volupté, near Chancery Lane, and the Pigalle Club, Piccadilly.
Cost: Tickets are £35 inclusive of full afternoon tea. Burlesque performers vary each time.
What a witty, well-written and enticing review. Let's go!
By verna1 - reader
Monday, 22nd of November @ 09:39 pm
Just to say, we no longer do the Pigalle show and prices have now gone up at £42 pp - for all the latest Afternoon Tease information head to
Thanks! Time For Tease
By Anonymous
Wednesday, 10th of August @ 11:26 am
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