Montreal Fringe Review: If Looks Can Kill…They Will! (Burlesque, Lady Gaga Style)

Have you ever popped a balloon covering up a woman’s breasts?

I have.

Just one of the perks of sitting front row of If Looks Can Kill…They Will!

I wanted to see this show ever since the Fringe-for-All, when the lounge singer’s preview made me sit up in my chair.

First of all, she sang “Fever,” a song that I love, to live music.

Secondly, she could sing.

And thirdly, just the way she winked at the audience from under her hat and tugged at each finger of her glove—well, she had me even before she even revealed her wrists.

I didn’t care for the trailer on the website (, but I liked the lounge singer so much, I plunked down $24, hired a babysitter, and dragged my husband to the 10 p.m. show, a time when I usually try to go to bed.

I wasn’t sure about entering a place advertising “strip-teaseuses,” but we climbed the stairs. BTW, I was wearing a purple backless tank top by Trendi, a tightly fitted, ruched, floor-length asymmetrical burgundy skirt by Rusch Couture, and a white cape by Dino Gaspari. I’d forgotten my peacock fascinator in the car, but rest assured, I’d dressed according to the glamorous, sexy vibe. That’s one of the things I love about Montreal, you can dress the hell up and nobody cares.

The upstairs was a spacious bar with a stage. On the left, a bare-chested man played the sax while the more-dressed band played guitar, cello, drums (a woman wearing a bustier), and tam tam.

The show was raunchier than I expected. If I had to pick a few words, I’d say: raw, funny, a little gross, and more live nudity than I’d ever seen in my sheltered life.

It’s supposed to be a murder mystery, but there weren’t any really good clues or red herrings—mostly random characters would keel over and then there’d be $2 shots at the bar.

Most sexy to me: full marks for the lounge singer; Cherry (the character who spoke terrible French); the black butler; Sherlock Homo at the end. Even the maid was better than I expected for a minor character (she turned out to be the director as well).

Amazing acting award: a woman named Cam filled in for Sherlock Homo at the last minute, learning her lines just one day before and performing her first striptease ever (and very well, too). I liked the incompetent Sherlock and smart Hotson characters. About time Dr. Watson took the lead. Who’s the doctor, eh? 😉

Most naked: the guy who sang the line “Am I exhibitionist?” during the first song, ripped off his pants, and basically stayed pants-free the entire time.

Most surprising to me: not only did the Jizzica character let me pop one of her balloons, spraying glitter everywhere, including under my contact lens, but she also surprised me later (I won’t say more, because it’s a spoiler, but it’s something I basically would never do).

Most surprisingly dignified while wearing assless chaps: the white butler

Too gross for me: the diarrhea plotline and the whole Booze Crotch character.

Musical note: the lounge singer and the black butler could sing, but most of the other numbers were pre-recorded and people either lip-synched or sang along with them while they danced or did burlesque-style striptease or both.

My husband Matt’s synopsis: “I liked the shadows.” (Woman behind a screen while Harlem Nocturne oozed in the background.) “Too much male nudity, not enough female nudity, too much…amateurish theatrics.” (Most of the women wore pasties. I think what he called amateurish theatrics, the appreciative audience would’ve called campy fun.)

Overall, I’d say that it was a big, bold, and deliberately sloppy show (fake vomit, stool, and blood, I’m looking at you). If you’re not offended by that or naked naughty bits, slap down your money and get over there for the next five shows.