Here we are at The Raunch, a Wild West saloon where the clientele literally swing from the rafters. That’s not all they’re up to – you’ll find camp cowboys cavorting, busty ladies breathing fire and talented twins tap-dancing. But it’s the swinging from the rafters that makes this variety show worth the trip.
In the atmospheric surroundings of The Lafayette tent at Underbelly’s Circus Hub we meet cowboy compere Mr Teds, who introduces cabaret performers Empress Stah, My Bad Sister, Fancy Chance, Jair Ramirez and Missa Blue. All decked out in Wild West gear, they’re each playing characters in a plot line that the producers would have been wise to jettison long ago. "The Magnificent Seven", as the marketing copy has it, are all very good at what they do, but acting is hardly their forte and the moments between acts are distractingly cringe-inducing.
It’s a fun and high-energy hour, let down only by that paper-thin plot and a couple of dance routines that feel a lot like filler. Once you’ve experienced dueling nipple tassles at dawn, an extended twerking interlude just isn’t going to cut it. And even a number performed on hoverboards (what did I say about the dodgy plot?), while initially impressive, begins to get old before too long.
But when The Raunch is good, it’s very good indeed, with Empress Stah, Jair Ramirez and Fancy Chance all deserving special mention for aerial work that will make you gasp and shout for more.