IndyFringe: Vixen DeVille Revealed

This show is part of the 15th Annual Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival, a/k/a IndyFringe, Aug. 15-25, 2019 on Mass Ave downtown. Info, etc., at

By John Lyle Belden

A burlesque show like no other, if you can at all make it, you must see “Vixen DeVille Revealed” in one of its two performances this weekend – 3 p.m. today and 6 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 17-18) at the Indy Eleven theater (719 E. St. Clair). Yes, I put the pitch at the top, in case you are reading this with only a few minutes before showtime. It’s that important.

Mind though, this Londoner does use extremely salty language, and we might get down to the pasties at the show’s climax, but otherwise this is an exciting, entertaining, hilarious and inspiring teens-and-up show.

We get right to business with Ms. DeVille, star of stage, horror flicks, and TV’s “Masters of Illusion,” with a game of “Is There Enough Broken Glass on Stage?” She not only performs glass-walking (with a little bit of striptease) but as an entertainer who enjoys teaching, she will instruct an audience member to walk on the shards as well (only needing to remove shoes and socks).

She goes through various routines as she describes how she became a burlesque entertainer despite being unable to sing or dance, and self-conscious about stripping. She also explains how she is not a magician, but she needed to work up a sword-box illusion so that she had an excuse to buy the sword that goes with the “beacon of shame” corset. During costume changes, we are treated to video footage and recorded interview snippets that add a lot to the show, and don’t feel like filler.

As we learn more, we get glimpses of Cat LaCohie, the former shy nine-year-old who always wonders if she’s good enough. This side especially shows when an accident nearly destroys her arm, and her confidence. Her vulnerability in telling the story transforms this show from great to brilliant. There has been an acrobatic hoop hanging over the stage this whole time – it has changed from just part of her act to a triumphant ascendance.

Kudos, by the way, to her faithful Kitty, as well her sword-box accomplice.

The only downside is that the show runs long, even with having to cut out the fire-eating segment due to venue safety rules – so it might be rushed or spill over in remaining performances. But do stay to the end.

IndyFringe: The Circus of Joy

By John Lyle Belden

Here’s how the show opens (note adult language)

From there things get even sillier and more bizarre.

Jason Adams (of “…is a Goddamn Mind Reader” and “Face Your Fears” fame) is Bongo the Blockhead, and with bearded lady Erin Grievances they perform comic feats that include so-fake-they’re-funny bits along with omigod-I-can’t-watch actual stunts. Yes, the concrete block and bed of nails are real.

Having a rowdy bunch of friends in the audience helped with the atmosphere and did lead to the tongue-in-cheek hashtag of #jasonadamsisdead. But actually, everyone is more likely to die laughing, provided your sense of humor embraces the silly and a tad crude.

And you saw correctly, Erin does distribute a few cocktails to lucky audience members. A few may also be brought onto the stage — but don’t worry, all volunteers survived (at least the show I saw).

Remaining performances of The Circus of Joy are Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening, Aug. 27-28. Info and tickets at