Skip to main content

anulichanga
4th October 2018

Preview: ‘Titters and Tassels’ Burlesque and comedy show

Excerpt: Theatre and Arts editors, Anuli Changa and Bella Jewell, meet with Mandy Tootill, one half of the comedic duo bringing burlesque and comedy together
Categories: ,
TLDR
Preview: ‘Titters and Tassels’ Burlesque and comedy show
Photo: Angela Booth

Mandy Tootill works at the University of Manchester in media services and is a trained graphic designer. In 2009 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and talked to us about how “it changes your outlook” on life and her new Burlesque show.

Mandy admitted that she “used to hate talking in public,” but at a charity night at the Frog and Bucket, when she was five years clear of cancer, she decided to take a step outside her comfort zone — she tried stand up comedy. Upon stepping onto the stage, Mandy recounts that she was “terrified until they put the microphone in [her hand].” Her five-minute set that followed was an intimate look into her experience with breast cancer.

She matter of factly stated that “cancer is like Voldemort, we’re scared to say the word.” Her comedy, now in the form of her solo show Twin Peaks, aims to “break down the barriers” surrounding the taboo subject.

Mandy was keen to tell us more about ‘Titters and Tassels’, a show performed with her comedy partner Kerry Leigh under the names, Toots and Leigh. The two comics host a show consisting of burlesque acts “interjected with [comedy] sketches.” Despite seeming an odd combination, Mandy informed us that burlesque actually finds its roots in comedy; the word burlesque is derived from the Italian term ‘burla’, which translates as ‘a joke’.

Mandy explained that co-hosting ‘Titters and Tassels’ shows how comedy and burlesque can be “accessible to all.” Comparing the show to her solo performances, she explained that Toots and Leigh provide the “freedom to play with characters,” whereas ‘Twin Peaks’ is more personal.

To those who stigmatise burlesque and paint it as something ‘sleazy’, Mandy provides the challenge “come and see the show.” She described burlesque as “another performance art” which is all about personality and energy, stemming from the art of striptease. She added, however, that stripping isn’t a necessity in burlesque and that “it’s empowering, even as a spectator.”

The burlesque community is “endlessly supportive”, burlesque is not exclusively female performers, there are the amusing coined ‘boylesquers’. Mandy was clearly passionate about how inclusive burlesque is as an art form; all types of people can enjoy the show. ‘Titters and Tassels’ creates unity regardless of familiarity.

‘Titters and Tassels’ is coming to Manchester on the 14th October and promises to be a show not to be missed. Students will be pleased to hear that Toots and Leigh are offering a special student discount, follow the link below and enter code TOOTSANDLEIGH. We’ve definitely learnt that the ‘beauty of burlesque and comedy [is that] it’s for everyone’ and we can’t wait to see the show first hand!

‘Titters and Tassels’ event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/166830570851116/

Student discount link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/titters-and-tassels-student-offer-tickets-50488989928

By Anuli Changa and Bella Jewell


More Coverage

Sweat at The Royal Exchange review: It didn’t make me sweat (or shed blood, or tears)

Lynn Nottage’s gritty play about the interconnected lives of nine Americans, living and working in one of the poorest towns in Pennsylvania, had all of the potential and material: but, disappointingly, it just didn’t deliver what it should have

A celebration of Jewish art in Manchester: Introducing Synagogue Scratch

This month, Synagogue Scratch is returning to Manchester Jewish Museum. The series represents a unique opportunity to enjoy new, groundbreaking performances by Jewish artists, in the museum’s beautifully preserved 1874 Synagogue.

The Kite Runner review: Unflinching look generational trauma and the divided history of Afghanistan

Giles Croft’s adaptation of Khalid Hosseini’s novel movingly explores friendship, betrayal, and redemption while also educating and enlightening audiences on the tumultuous political and cultural history of Afghanistan. It is an innovative and immersive piece of theatre that remains poignant and important in today’s climate

Making Manchester #3: Eleanor Haigh

Performing across the UK from Edinburgh Fringe to London, Eleanor Haigh embraces the spotlight with a multitude of talent. She breaks down what draws her to the arts and the biggest challenges facing artists today.