The mistress of the House beckons her guests into an intimate salon, the air thick with the comforting warmth of so many bodies. The mistress of the House has long, thick hair, and eyes that breathe smoke. She twists and writhes on stage to a static beat, all rhythm and sensuality and menacing eroticism. The mistress of the House commands attention, then directs it to the women in her troupe; performers with unique, macabre skills, their bodies sometimes bare and contorted as the surreal, dark dance thrums and permeates the audience. This is no casual burlesque show; this is a collection of dark art as curated by the mistress of the House, Olivia Bellafontaine. This is The House of Red Velvet, and you are most welcome.
Since 2015, The House of Red Velvet has been pairing the skeletal framework of traditional burlesque performances with an arrestingly dark aesthetic; it is far less about a striptease component than it is about telling specific stories with visceral emotion threaded throughout each piece. Bellafontaine, stunning and commanding with her long legs and genuine magnetism, presents Besessen/Obsession, the latest installment in The House of Red Velvet’s bizarre, and thrilling journey into the enchanting underbelly of neo-burlesque. Featuring the talents of Jill Evyn, Brynn Route, Claudia Musikul, Erica Snap, and Bellafontaine herself, Besessen is a series of performances centered around desperation, violence, desire, and control: all cornerstones of the namesake Obsession.
A low stage sits in a dimly lit room, flickering light setting a curious, dangerous mood. So much of the action takes place throughout the audience, however, that the stage itself is almost a necessary but irrelevant afterthought. The story begins; a woman is led by a rope around her throat, wide eyed with a mix of adoration and rage at her owner. A black feathered bird-like woman stretches herself with sinister allure amongst the crowd. Another is covered in blood and fire. A third throws herself back and forth, unable or unwilling to free herself from the steel faced man who grips a length of her body-length hair in his fingers. Bookending all of these haunting displays is Bellafontaine herself, continuing to exhibit the provocative, innovative style that’s the hallmark of her compelling performances.
The House of Red Velvet is far more than just a stage show; it is a room that exists on the fringes of sensation and reality, tempting audiences to inhale the heady scent of powerful erotica tinged with horror. It lingers long in the imagination when it finally sighs to a fevered halt. Olivia Bellafontaine and her tremendous cast of performers have created a special blend of subterranean decadence and nightmare that directly appeals to the sinister at heart. This is her House, her stage, her vision. You’ve been given a standing invitation, a sign leading to a remarkable corner where burlesque and terror meet and meld. These performances are catered to the mischievous of heart, and should not be missed or taken lightly for the Mistress of the House still awaits, still beckons, still crooks a slender finger and gestures, come deeper into to the dark.
Tickets for the next installment of The House of Red Velvet are on sale now. For more information and to purchase, please check out the website.