Burlesque Review: El Mari Chi Chi

Jeez Loueez by DallasPinUp.com
Jeez Loueez by DallasPinUp.com

We heard Chicago’s Gorilla Tango Theater had some wild burlesque shows with unorthodox themes, and we wanted to see if the show lived up to the hype.  We sent one of our favorite Chicago gals- Jeez Loueez to get the scoop. Learn more about Jeezy at TheJeezLoueez.com; visit the theater at GorillaTango.com

El Mari Chi Chi : A Burlesque Review by Jeez Loueez

If you’re in Chicago or nearby I’m sure you’ve heard the latest burlesque hype.  The newest concept to hit stages is Gorilla Tango Theater’s wave of themed “geek burlesque” shows starting with the long-running hit Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque (all of the fuzzy feelings of childhood but now with more grown and sexy).From there they’ve gone on to create popular burlesque parodies like Temple of Boobs: An Indiana Jones Burlesque, Boobs of Khan: A Star Trek Burlesque, and now…Robert Rodriquez?


Yea, apparently I’m really late and have been living under a glitter-encrusted rock! Based on director Robert Rodriquez’s cult classics El Mariachi and Desperado, “El Mari Chi Chi” is definitely for the fan boys and girls of the action flicks.  After the first few minutes of not knowing what the hell anyone was talking about or referencing, I was interested to see if the entire next hour of my life would go completely over my head or if I could catch on.

First thing to note is that Gorilla Tango shows don’t follow your typical “host-girl-host-girl” show formula. Most burlesque shows plug in themed acts into a certain number of slots. Gorilla Tango’s approach is more of a burlesque play. There’s a script, lines, cues, and a cohesive storyline or plot to follow.

Mari is a revenge-seeking mariachi player searching for the man who murdered one of his “many many womens”.  Lead by Diva La Vida as the wounded mariachi Mari, the cast of hilarious and scantily clad ladies lead us through a fast-paced version of the popular movies interspersed with stripteases to the flavorful soundtrack. La Vida’s comedic timing and smoldering Antonio Banderas impersonation were to die for. By the time she performed her solo act at the end of the show I couldn’t wait to see what moves she was working with! Mierda, El Mari’s rival, was portrayed by the statuesque beauty Zoe Drift who was a stunning and threatening vision in white. Part sketch comedy, part live combat, part sexy lady time, the writing (by Salsation Theatre Company) and acting was funny and engaging enough that I didn’t need to know the script references. Although I was quite excited when I could catch on to the witty Puss-n-Boots jabs.

Other stand-out performers include: Slightly Spitfire, the lithe and bendy gymnast who literally defied feats of strength and agility, and Choco Latina for her creative use of silk fans made from books. Fans of Steve Buscemi’s character will get a kick out of Bottom-Heavy Betty’s side splitting narration and her double duty as the unnamed little boy. While die-hard fans of the Chicago burlesque scene may not recognize many of these new names and faces, I hope the Gorilla Tango ladies start to integrate themselves into the Chicago community. There is definitely a lot of raw talent and I’d love to see them take their burlesque interests even further.

The cast of multi-talented actors, comedians, and dancers definitely matched their sexy to their funny and Bobby Hoffman’s precise fight choreography added tense action filled moments. Wanda Cobar’s costuming was true to both burlesque and the film references and provided just the right amount of sparkle and grit. Beautiful, funny ladies who kick ass and take it off? Totally a dream for fans of both burlesque and geeky tributes!

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