With her ginger pin-up girl curls, fish nets and four-inch heels, Amber Topaz is a pocket rocket who defies expectations. Her premiere show at FRINGE WORLD is not your usual one-dimensional cabaret of sexual innuendo and sarcasm.
As an experienced theatre actress from London’s West End and international burlesque performer, Topaz easily charms the crowd with her Lucille Ball sense of humour and Liza Minelli dance and vocal strength.
Topaz surprises with a healthy dose of sex education and biology lessons combined with cheeky audience interaction and top-notch songs, including a hilarious rendition of The Divinyls “I Touch Myself” in the style of a German dominatrix.
She is at her best when she is singing, working the crowd, and challenging a chosen few to participate in a playful spank.
From lessons about the oxytocin release and pain-relieving benefits of orgasm to the serotonin effects of human contact, Topaz is a cheerleader of masturbation and smart sex.
The playful and cheeky tone of the show shifts in the last quarter to a more serious social commentary on self worth and self love, as well as the importance of positive human connection.
A few segments felt a little awkward or forced, like when she instructed the crowd to dance with their eyes closed for the entire length of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” or when she encouraged audience members to hug each other at the end of the show.
A highlight of the night was a reading of an early 20th century poem, which would make most modern audiences blush. It’s a reminder that in an age when very little shocks, human sexuality has been delighting in subversive expression for longer than we think.
Topaz celebrates this openness of expression and encourages us to take off our collective mask and be comfortable in our own skin. For entertaining lessons in libido and love, Rude Awakening is a sensual and socially conscious delight.