Fire-eating, glass-walking, circus aerial, magic, burlesque, costume crafting, comedy, and acting—British actress Cat LaCohie fits all of these skills into her life and her new solo show “Vixen DeVille Revealed", coming to the Hollywood Fringe Festival this June.
Having performed regularly at The Viper Room, LA Convention Center, The Roosevelt Hotel, Harvelle's Santa Monica and Long Beach, and at The Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, and with multiple television appearances like “Masters Of Illusion,” she also teaches her craft both privately and in group workshops with classes that range from “Introduction to Burlesque & Body Confidence”—where she teaches you to “embrace the freedom to express yourself...the good, the bad and the wobbly!”—to full “Solo Act Development”, along with “Costume Crafting” and specialty performance skills that include fire performance, aerial and more.
Also currently performing with the Doll Face Dames, where there are over 30 people in the troupe who perform in rotation throughout LA, LaCohie often serves as a form of host—or Mistress of Ceremonies—a position she found through her unique use of comedy, burlesque, and having the additional benefit of a British accent in Los Angeles.
In that, she works up the audience in preparation for the show to come, laying out the rules and restrictions with charm.
"We want you to be loud and rowdy, in certain ways!," said LaCohie. "So as the host we'll get people up and shouting. We'll tell you what the rules are—don't touch the girls, don't do this, do this, don't do that—It's kind of like a stand-up comedienne."
Starting her career in burlesque in 2006, she performed for nearly eight years in the U.K. When coming to Los Angeles, she only brought three burlesque outfits, just in case she needed them, because her idea and goal was to focus on acting.
"I figured, if I need to, I can make some money doing burlesque," she said. But ultimately, she simply missed it as a performance artist and decided to continue her style of burlesque performing in Los Angeles, which then lead to teaching.
She began teaching basic burlesque routine moves for a company, which she found pedestrian at the time. But in conversations, people expressed fascination and a desire to perform themselves, but had reservations varying from body confidence issues to disbelief that they could ever learn the skills or master the courage.
"I met people who said 'Oh, I could never perform burlesque!' or "I could never do ... but, want to do it!,'" said LaCohie. "If you have anything in you that wants to do this, then why are you talking yourself out of it?"
In teaching, she then began focusing not on the dance moves, or the technique of it. "Looking at your confidence, looking at your character, what pleases you, and what you're going to have fun doing in front of an audience ... do you want to show your dark side, or your fun side, or your sexy side," said LaCohie.
Aside from burlesque, LaCohie is trained in fire performance—including fire eating, fire fans and fire spinning, and body burning—aerial performance, and glass walking, the latter of which she incorporates a dance where she rolls in glass and experiments with ballet. But her experimentation has not been without dangers.
From minor injuries to her knee and legs while performing in an acting class in the UK, to more serious injuries while focused and teaching after coming to Los Angeles.
Early on, while training in the Meisner Acting Technique, she thought to incorporate the new skill of glass walking into a scene with another student. After smashing a bottle in the scene, while focused on the scene, she knelt into it - a risky transaction for the yet fully trained glass walker.
"[during the scene] I thought, 'Why is it cold?' And there's blood dripping all over me. And my teacher goes. 'Whatever hinders you is your task, continue with the scene!,'" said LaCohie, so she did. "So then the guy with me in the scene is helping me mop up the blood. So I thought, 'Well I guess I can't kneel down in it!'"
Another incident, in a distracted moment while teaching, LaCohie leaned back into preset broken glass, cutting deep enough into her hand to tear tendons. Once again, she quickly made temporary self-ministrations to her wounds so that she could continue while teaching in the moment, leaving a lengthy and costly recovery for a future time.
Encouraged after speaking with friends who've participated in the annual Hollywood Fringe Festival, LaCohie has now decided to pull her skills into a solo show. For the annual festival that brings Hollywood smaller theaters to the forefront of attention each summer, she will premiere “Vixen DeVille Revealed.”
Incorporating burlesque, circus, magic, comedy, LaCohie promises to reveal “the truth behind her multi-talented Burlesque persona, ‘VixenDeVille'”, and invite you to “discover your own inner Vixen.”
With a limited VIP Experience, she will even teach you to eat fire or walk on broken glass, live on stage as part of the show.
With plans to return to Newcastle and London sometime soon after the Hollywood Fringe Festival, LaCohie plans to bring Vixen DeVille Revealed home.
"Vixen DeVille Revealed" opens June 1, 2018, at the Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, CA 90038.
Go here for more show information and tickets.
For more on Cat LaCohie, listen to the podcast: