Varietease returns with a devilish twist

Voluptuous vixens and luscious lads are bound to get your heart rate pumping this week during the fifth edition of Varietease, a burlesque cabaret.

Voluptuous vixens and luscious lads are bound to get your heart rate pumping this week during the fifth edition of Varietease, a burlesque cabaret.

The biennial variety show promises to feature a wide range of eye candy for its audiences.

This year’s production, called Hotter than Hell, is a lot more than lingerie, girdles and stockings.

Sure, the scantily clad women singing and dancing in a sexually suggestive fashion will attract its fair share of attention.

But there are also Vaudeville-style sketches, live music, improvisation and a lot of surprises.

Host Helen Brimstone, played by Claire Ness, welcomes the recently deceased audience to Hell, and offers them a visual feast to prove the underworld isn’t all that bad.

Expect performers – nine women and three men – to pop out of every nook and cranny within the Guild Hall Theatre.

Each character has a backstory, a reason for being in Hell, that is explored in an improvised interview during the show.

It’s a night of partial nudity, adult language and a showcase of some of the best local talent.

Needless to say, it’s a show that doesn’t cater to children, hence the 19 and over age restriction.

Producer-performer Fiona Solon, who has been involved with Varietease since its inception in 2008, calls it an “onslaught of entertainment.”

“In this show the MC is always talking to the audience and we don’t pretend they’re not there,” she said.

“There’s no fourth wall. The band is playing between performances.

“There always something happening.”

Numbers speak volumes about the show’s popularity.

They’ve always sold out, and this year is no exception.

“Every seat has always been paid for,” Solon said.

During off years when the show doesn’t take place, the same producers organize a huge Halloween dance party.

They’ve sold those out, too.

Solon and co-director Brian Fidler didn’t go after any funding this year, so they had to find more local sponsors.

In true Vaudevillian spirit, jingles for those sponsors have been worked in and will be performed throughout the shows.

Even Jesus makes an impromptu appearance, even though no one really knows what he’s doing there.

Simon Vincent, performing on stage for the first time, will play the Son of God.

“I’m thinking perhaps he’s there on holiday,” he said, referring to the Messiah’s unorthodox presence in Hell.

“I’m nervous about it. The other day I heard myself over the monitors and I could hear myself sounding nervous.”

He said he wanted to get involved with the show because he felt he had something to contribute.

“I love variety shows and there are a lot of beautiful women dancing around,” he said.

“I thought, ‘What about something for the ladies?’ This is my contribution.”

A third-level carpentry apprentice at Yukon College, Vincent is also the production manager and built the set for the show.

Just recently he’s been heading over to the Guild Hall after school and working until the wee hours of the morning.

There’s so much work to do he’s even spent the night there.

His costume includes a fake stigmata on his hands and bloody scars on various parts of his body.

“I tried to make it historically accurate,” he added.

Vincent’s disheveled hair and scraggly beard are nice touches, too. It shouldn’t be too hard to recognize him as Jesus on stage.

Patrick Matheson is the lighting designer. He’s been working backstage for 30 years and said he loves collaborating with creative people like Solon.

“I work behind the scenes, so when there’s an opportunity for the technicians and designers to work with visionaries like Fiona it’s always exciting,” he said.

Matheson’s job is to accentuate the visual impact of the costumes and choreography, to make them pop out.

In a town like Whitehorse, it’s easy for like-minded people to slide up and work with each other, he said.

“Like in a fleshy vortex,” Solon chimed in.

Hotter than Hell opened Tuesday and runs through Saturday, Nov. 1.

Nightly shows are at 9 p.m. at the Guild Hall, with additional midnight shows on Friday and Saturday.

The midnight shows are a bit rowdier and feature two different numbers, Solon said.

All performances are sold out, but there is a way to get tickets.

People can show up just before performances and add their names to a standby list.

Tickets will then be sold according to the number of empty seats on a first come, first serve basis.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

Just Posted

Sarah Walz leads a softball training session in Dawson City. Photo submitted by Sport Yukon.
Girls and women are underserved in sport: Sport Yukon

Sport Yukon held a virtual event to celebrate and discuss girls and women in sport

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bagged meter fees could be discounted for patios

Council passes first reading at special meeting

The Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell is among a number of sites that are expected to make more commercial/industrial land available in the coming years. (Submitted)
Council hears update on commercial land

Number of developments expected to make land available in near future

keith halliday
Yukonomist: Have I got an opportunity for you!

Are you tired of the same-old, same-old at work? Would you like to be a captain of industry, surveying your domain from your helicopter and enjoying steak dinners with influential government officials at the high-profile Roundup mining conference?

Clouds pass by the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Friday, June 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Yukon government, B.C. company want Supreme Court of Canada appeal of Wolverine Mine case

Government concerned with recouping cleanup costs, creditor wants review of receiver’s actions.

The Village of Carmacks has received federal funding for an updated asset management plan. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Federal funding coming to Carmacks

The program is aimed at helping municipalities improve planning and decision-making around infrastructure

Paddlers start their 715 kilometre paddling journey from Rotary Park in Whitehorse on June 26, 2019. The 2021 Yukon River Quest will have a different look. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
The 22nd annual Yukon River Quest moves closer to start date

Although the race will be modified in 2021, a field of 48 teams are prepared to take the 715 kilometre journey from Whitehorse to Dawson City on the Yukon River

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its June 7 meeting

Letters to the editor.
This week’s mailbox: the impact of residential schools, Whitehorse Connects, wildfires

Dear Editor; Anguish – extreme pain, distress or anxiety. Justice – the… Continue reading

PROOF CEO Ben Sanders is seen with the PROOF team in Whitehorse. (Submitted)
Proof and Yukon Soaps listed as semifinalists for national award

The two companies were shortlisted from more than 400 nominated

The RCMP Critical Incident Program will be training in Watson Lake from June 14-16. Mike Thomas/Yukon News
RCMP will conduct three days of training in Watson Lake

Lakeview Apartment in Watson Lake will be used for RCMP training

John Tonin/Yukon News Squash players duke it out during Yukon Open tournament action at Better Bodies on June 5.
Four division titles earned at squash Yukon Open

The territory’s squash talent was on full display at the 2021 Yukon Open

Most Read