Foul Play Cabaret Madison Hurley

SATURDAY 10/29. Central Theatre, 1008 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 8 p.m. $5-$35; $250 VIP Couch. 

If you think burlesque is just a thinly veiled excuse to see some particularly mentionable unmentionables with a veneer of moral impunity … OK, it actually is that. Nevertheless, may I introduce you to Foul Play Cabaret? The group of performers — Jezebelle Jax, Rosa Lee Bloom, Ruby Lead, Violet D’Vine and Doris Night — makes the striptease look like moving art, with extravagantly crafted costumes, whipsmart humor, a sex-positive ethos and relentless dedication to the night’s theme, whatever it may be. (Witchcraft, in this case.)

Madison Hurley
Foul Play Cabaret

And they’re ever clever at delivering the element of surprise: In one of the last shows of any kind I saw before the pandemic lockdown, a member of the troupe did a clever, artful tease in full tuxedo drag to the tune of a moody Smiths song (“This Charming Man,” was it?) and managed to remain entirely clothed for the duration, reaching into their blouse at the last second and letting go a mischievous cackle as they pulled out a hearty middle finger and bounced offstage. The audience went wild! And, because Arkansas has more good burlesque than we deserve, Foul Play is joined by host Pepper Darling, Fifi Deluxx of Memphis and by Maxie Fauna, maker of meticulously engineered stagewear and radiant founder of the state’s foremost BIPOC burlesque troupe, Arkansas Shake Shakers. Costumes are encouraged for attendees. Get tickets at Eventbrite.