For Kitten N’ Lou, life is no picnic, even when they’re having one. That was one of the key themes bubbling up from their “OVEREXPOSED!” show, their first full-length effort, which they brought to One Eyed Jacks on Sunday (April 17) before heading back out overseas for more touring.
Featuring former Shim Shamette Kitten LaRue, Kitten N’ Lou prove for New Orleans audiences who hadn’t seen their set at the “CREAM!” show they co-produced with Bella Blue last September that they’re doing what no other burlesque artist is doing today. Through a curious mash-up of burlesque, boylesque drag and multi-media, Kitten N’ Lou reveal with “show within a show” cheek that gender isn’t the only thing that’s fluid in variety acts.
Essentially, “OVEREXPOSED!” is a series of set pieces (presumably pulled from several of their popular acts) that speak to what it must be like to be in love and onstage together. At various times lip-synching, pantomiming and straight-up dancing, the duo checks myriad influences, whether it’s Lou Henry Hoover’s obvious love of Charlie Chaplin while doing a drag king bit or Kitten LaRue (a native of Ruston, La.) offering an expressive camp that is as reminiscent of our own drag queen legend Varla Jean Merman (without ever saying a word) as much as any striptease artist.
Their frequent collaborator, BenDeLaCreme, provided the unseen, pre-recorded narration that propels the show from one set piece to another, sometimes as basic narration, sometimes in a sort-of meta conversation with the performers. That, and some incredibly risky but often rewarding moments of total silence, give “OVEREXPOSED!” a distinction that keeps the audience on its toes. Sometimes the silence worked against them, as over-served members of the audience took to hooting, often unnecessarily, thinking they were either filling in the silent moments to help out or simply to hear themselves howl. (At one point a women checked an audience member behind with a dismissive “Not your show,” to which the other replied, “Oh, sorry, I’m really drunk.” OK…)
While 80 percent of the time they spent their moments either trying to put up with or woo back the other — during a picnic scene, Lou keeps pushing over a beer bottle to Kitten as a sign of affection, which she responds each time by semi-politely sliding it right back with increasing frustration — the show ends in a kiss, and applause.
It should come as no shock that following Sunday’s performance Kitten N’ Lou ultimately will head to the Vienna Boylesque Festival (where Bella Blue served as the headliner in 2015) — further evidence that the world is not over this couple’s exposure.