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Monday, March 9, 2009

Tempest Rose has been a Bad Girl

Tempest RoseTempest Rose is about to kick Oxford out of its comfort zone with a great big, feathery, sequinned stiletto heel and into the 21st century.

The creation of former Oxford High School pupil Ariadne Blakey, right, Tempest Rose is now a proud member of the Kitten Club in London and wants to bring burlesque back to her home town.

“I was going to start something in London but when I researched burlesque in Oxford I realised there was nothing here,” the 26-year-old says, after a strenuous three-hour rehearsal in fishnets and a feather boa.

“Burlesque is a combination of singing, dancing, satire, circus, striptease and comedy.

“But it is also a vehicle for eroticism and sensuality.”

Burlesque is back in a big way, with cabaret clubs opening all over London.

“It’s ironic really,” Ariadne says, “because in the 1930s burlesque was huge, which was the last Depression, and now its coming back into fashion during this recession.”

So what’s the attraction? “The audience is predominantly women – I think they’re bored of in-yer-face aggressive sexuality.

“This is much more old-fashioned, sensuous and interactive. It’s erotic, but also intelligent, so it stimulates you mentally as well as being sexy.

“While it takes you on a journey through the many characters I play, there is always this sexual undercurrent. What I love most is that I get to sing, act and dance and it’s the one vehicle that allows you to do them all.

“Plus I get to use all the facets of my training, and all of my experience every night. So you get to have a night out watching something inspiring rather than going to a nightclub or bar. There’s nothing really like it.”

So who is Tempest Rose and where did she come from?

“She’s a caricature of all the things I‘d like to be,” Ariadne says.

“Tempest Rose gets to have frivolous, zany fun while I pay the bills,” she laughs.

“So the debutante and showgirl Miss Tempest Rose graduated from finishing school in 2007 and is most accomplished in the lady-like pastimes of singing, poetry, ballet and needlepoint.

“She is also highly accomplished in the not-so lady-like arts of soul-singing, tease, espionage, assassination, drinking, hustling and is well aware of what the butler saw. Tempest Rose may look like a lady, but she is not to be messed with!”

Ariadne, on the other hand, grew up in Headington, where her parents still live, before taking a place at The London Academy of Performing Arts, with a post graduate diploma in classical acting with musical theatre.

Since then she has worked in theatre, musical theatre, film, television, voice-overs and the West End. Does she ever get self-conscious as Tempest Rose?

“The first time I felt very much on show but even in a pair of nipple tassles it doesn’t bother me now,” Ariadne laughs.

“But I don’t go any further than French knickers, and as I’m also sponsored by a lingerie company I get to wear all this wonderful clothing and costumes.”

So what will Ariadne’s High School teachers think? “I hope they’ll be very proud and see that I’m promoting a positive female role model both physically and mentally and doing something for women, as well as it as being enterprising.

“But I would love to find out what they think,” she smiles before winking, tossing her boa over her shoulder and departing, with a swing of her hips.

Tempest Rose will be at Baby Simple in Cowley Road on March 19 and once a month thereafter. Tickets cost £8.

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