BWW Review: A SHINING ATTRIBUTE – Short and Sassy

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A SHINING ATTRIBUTE by Candyce Rusk is a one act, solo work that tells the story of Bijou, a spirit that haunts a former burlesque house in Boston's Combat Zone. The Combat Zone was the name given in the 1960's to the adult entertainment district in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. In the early 70's the suggestively blue entertainment that was burlesque became less tease and more blunt nudity. A SHINING ATTRIBUTE explores the life and loves of Bijou, one of the denizens of The Combat Zone. This is a look at her downward slide through her final abusive yet oddly loving romance when she consorted with Greek mob boss Black Jack for her survival.

The title refers to what a burlesque performer feels is their money making quality... their "shining attribute"... the thing that sets them apart from other burlesque performers. The play was first staged at Fronterafest in 2010, winning Best of the Week.

This no hold barred look at a performer's last dance was given an electrifying performance during the 2016 OUTside Festival featuring a captivating Melissa Vogt accompanied by Robert Vignisson on drums. Directed by Hannah Wolf, the piece offers a fascinating look at the life and loves of a former burlesque queen. Wolf has smartly staged the piece with nothing more than the trunk that contains the remnants of Bijou's life.

The only problem with the piece is that it is so short. I wanted to know more about this ghostly burlesque queen once this piece had scratched the surface of her highly interesting life. It ends just as you've become fully engaged. I hope Rusk has plans to expand the piece into a full evening.


Running time: Approximately 30 minutes.

A SHINING ATTRIBUTE, produced by OUTsider Festival, played The Salvage Vanguard Theater (2803 E. Manor Road)

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From This Author Frank Benge