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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley gives a COVID-19 update during a press conference in Whitehorse on May 26. The Yukon government announced two new cases of COVID-19 in the territory with a press release on Oct. 19. (Alistair Maitland Photography)
Two new cases of COVID-19 announced in Yukon

Contact tracing is complete and YG says there is no increased risk to the public

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on April 8. Yukon Energy faced a potential “critical” fuel shortage in January due to an avalanche blocking a shipping route from Skagway to the Yukon, according to an email obtained by the Yukon Party and questioned in the legislature on Oct. 14. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Energy faced ‘critical’ fuel shortage last January due to avalanche

An email obtained by the Yukon Party showed energy officials were concerned

Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys), the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. “Our government is proud to be supporting Yukon’s grassroots organizations and First Nation governments in this critical work,” said McLean of the $175,000 from the Yukon government awarded to four community-based projects aimed at preventing violence against Indigenous women. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government gives $175k to projects aimed at preventing violence against Indigenous women

Four projects were supported via the Prevention of Violence against Aboriginal Women Fund

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone

When I was a kid, CP Air had a monopoly on flights… Continue reading

EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse. Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting instead of 30 days to make up for lost time caused by COVID-19 in the spring. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Legislative assembly sitting extended

Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting. The extension… Continue reading

Today’s mailbox: Mad about MAD

Letters to the editor published Oct. 16, 2020

Alkan Air hangar in Whitehorse. Alkan Air has filed its response to a lawsuit over a 2019 plane crash that killed a Vancouver geologist on board, denying that there was any negligence on its part or the pilot’s. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Alkan Air responds to lawsuit over 2019 crash denying negligence, liability

Airline filed statement of defence Oct. 7 to lawsuit by spouse of geologist killed in crash

Whitehorse city council members voted Oct. 13 to decline an increase to their base salaries that was set to be made on Jan. 1. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council declines increased wages for 2021

Members will not have wages adjusted for CPI

A vehicle is seen along Mount Sima Road in Whitehorse on May 12. At its Oct. 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the third reading for two separate bylaws that will allow the land sale and transfer agreements of city-owned land — a 127-square-metre piece next to 75 Ortona Ave. and 1.02 hectares of property behind three lots on Mount Sima Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse properties could soon expand

Land sale agreements approved by council

Most Read