“I found myself spontaneously doing an impression of Elvis sat on the toilet eating a burger…” Tilly Mint, The Spare Rib Burlesque
You know how it is these days: you’re wandering around online and then you suddenly bump into something very cool and wonderful. In this case, The Spare Rib burlesque show based in Liverpool. At the time they were putting out tweets for their upcoming Valentine’s show on February 16th. We can’t make it to the show so we thought we’d do an interview with Minxie Coquette and Tilly Mint – the show’s producers – instead.
As you’ll read, they’re a pair of smart, big-hearted, focused ladies. They’re also pretty chatty, too, so you’ll get to hear about how they began, their desire to promote new performers, and how they regularly try to raise funds and awareness for various charitable organisations.
Now we haven’t seen The Spare Rib or the performers involved before, but reading the interview really makes me want to get my bottom up to Liverpool. It looks like a fun show with an open mind and a great sense of production and direction. We can’t wait to see it sometime, and we hope it has the same effect on you too!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Minxie Coquette and Tilly Mint from The Spare Rib Burlesque…
When did The Spare Rib start and who runs it?
Minxie Coquette: The Spare Rib was founded in late 2014 by myself, initially planned as a one off show to raise money for charity. Here, I met Tilly Mint who came on as co-producer and we decided that the first show was so successful and enjoyable that we wanted to keep them going and build on what we’ve got! We now run the shows together every few months in Liverpool.
Tilly Mint: We have both had quite a journey both personally and professionally throughout the time we’ve been producing The Spare Rib and the best part is that we’ve had each other for support and to share the celebrations.
The Spare Rib seems to have a definite aim of providing a stage for women to perform and for the show to raise money for charity. Please tell us a bit more about the idea behind The Spare Rib and its aims for the present and future:
Minxie: When The Spare Rib first began, the aim was to provide a platform for women to perform as I wasn’t seeing a lot of it about in Liverpool particularly in burlesque, except for very high end performers. There just wasn’t that space for up and coming talented women to get their art out there and make people happy!
Tilly: Although, our primary aim is for supporting and encouraging creativity in women, we also pride ourselves on providing a safe space for all performers including work with the LGBTQ community.
Minxie: Every show we raise money for a different charity. These have included RASA Merseyside (a local rape and sexual abuse centre), Age UK, Beating Bowel Cancer, Michael Causer Foundation and many more. We’ve raised thousands over the years now which is unbelievable when you add it all up! The charities we choose are always those close to our hearts and who we feel are really in need of our support. Beating Bowel Cancer was chosen for a couple of shows last year because sadly we have both recently lost people to the disease. We did a very last minute show after the earthquake in Nepal a few years back, where we gave money to a local grassroots charity to ensure the donations were used best by the people most affected.
Tilly: It’s important to us personally to ensure we support charities where we can see where the money is being spent, and know that we are making a difference through the work of our performers and ourselves and the support of our audiences.
What can people expect to see when they come to the show?
Minxie: Everything! We try to ensure a good mix of performances at our shows, from the most classic fan dances to glittery sex-mad aliens and everything in between! There’s always lots of laughing and cheering at our shows – we LOVE our audience. One of the things that performers come back and tell us again and again is how much they love the atmosphere at our shows because it really is so much fun whether you’re on the stage or watching. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and that’s the way we like it!
Tilly: We want everyone to feel welcome like they’re all part of one big, unconventional yet amazing family!
What have been the best moments of the show so far?
Minxie: Wow, what a question! For me, the best thing is growth. First, growth of the size of our audience, with a strong loyal fan base alongside burlesque virgins at every single show. Second, growth of the performers on our stages. We have newcomer positions at all of our shows and run Spare Rib Superstar every year where new performers compete and gain feedback from top industry professionals. Some of these performers have gone on to be international award-winners and we feel so lucky to have been a part of their journey right from the beginning!
Tilly: There’s not a lot I can add to that, I think Minxie hit the nail on the head. Apart from, I would probably say, the moment I found myself spontaneously doing an impression of Elvis sat on the toilet eating a burger which was a particular highlight.
[MG: that sounds fantastic!]
Who will be performing at your next show?
Minxie: Our February show sees a number of brand new performers to The Spare Rib stage which we’re excited about. Arielle Firecracker is one to look out for. When I first saw her I thought she’d been performing for years and years but she’s actually pretty new to the scene so I can see her going places! We have something new and surprising from Ruby’s Rebels, a huge troupe of 25 women – although only a handful of them will be joining us. Harlow Kitty is coming back to us after a fabulous performance at our Winter Wonderland show last year where she wowed the audience. Other performers include Betsy Bop, Edie Peaches, Emilia Topaz, Sassy Violette, Sheree Mon Amie and Velvet Fox.
Tilly: And of course I’ll be hosting which means nobody knows what will happen- including me sometimes!
We haven’t been to Liverpool, but we’d like to. What is the burlesque/cabaret community like there?
Tilly: Liverpool is fantastic. It’s got such great culture and history which, I think, enhances the creativity in the city. It’s a very exciting time to be in Liverpool right now – there are new venues and creative spaces popping up all the time. Constellations, our new venue, is one such example.
Minxie: I love Liverpool! The burlesque and cabaret scene is slowly getting bigger and better with the emergence of new classes and shows around, including shows by Millie Dollar and the Secret Circus which are some of our personal favourites. There are some really brilliant up and coming performers who have just hit the scene and I’m excited to see them develop and blossom, and come and join us on The Spare Rib stage!
What plans do you have for 2018?
Tilly: We’ve got a lot of exciting things planned for this year. We have our regular shows in July, and at Halloween and Christmas. In May we have our Spare Rib Superstar newbie competition which is always exciting, getting to see all of the new up and coming talent. We’re also expanding our hen party and private hire side of The Spare Rib, where we offer bespoke classes, workshops and performances for events.
Minxie: What Tilly said! We’ve also got plans to start up classes with a twist, helping people to embrace their inner sensuality and take ownership of their bodies and individuality. Watch this space!
Sounds fantastic! Run along to their event page on Facebook for more info on The Spare Rib’s Valentine’s Special on February 16th at Constellations in Liverpool. Tickets £7.
Bending over photo by Carys Pritchard
Laughing photo by Ted Devine.