We’re back with some more Fae-vourites from 2022! If you missed it, my last diary entry listed my top ten favourite cabaret shows from 2022 with the acts which caught my eye – but I deliberately missed out these five which were my favourites from the whole year.

Zizi Zinnona – Instagram

I first saw clips of this act during COVID lockdown times and I knew I had to see it. Political acts have a hard line to draw between the message and entertaining the audience – most shows audience members have bought their ticket primarily to have a good time, but the strongest political acts I’ve seen manage to get their message across whilst they’ve got the audience on side with their skills (whether that be drama, comedy, beauty etc). 

Zizi’s Instagram act is fantastically costumed (and entirely unique- you aren’t seeing that costume anywhere else!), and she delivers the story with excellent comic timings and lots of small, delightful details whilst protesting the sexist policy of social media (primarily Instagram) to ban boobed nipples.

I first saw this act when Zizi headlined Croatia Burlesque Festival and I was assistant stage manager… and I fangirled a bit backstage! This act is everything I love about burlesque- gorgeous, silly, clever, protest, and entertaining- and was worth waiting two years to see it!

Follow Zizi on Instagram (oh, the irony)

Chanelle de Mai – Metamorphosis  

From comedy to the surreal, on a different side of the spectrum of what burlesque can be, the second time I saw Zizi perform she was sharing the stage with Chanelle de Mai in Prague at the Bohemian Burlesque Festival. 

Chanelle’s act used deeply atmospheric music – Smetana’s Vltava, named for Prague’s sweeping river – and Chanelle’s own exquisite costuming to tell the story of transformation and metamorphosis with transfixing musicality and movement. 

Follow Chanelle on Instagram

Lala L’More – Maneater

I love the use of classic burlesque elements in the more modern storytelling style, and Lala’s Maneater act is a great example of this. She has the classic showgirl silhouette with her heels, cinched waist, and huge feather fans, but she wields the fans as a Venus flytrap to Rihanna’s Maneater, with an incredible flytrap headpiece.

Follow Lala on Instagram

Vicomte Harbourg – Soldier


Many burlesque acts have a ‘switch’ moment in the middle- we love a subverted expectation. We see many stereotyped characters – a buttoned-up librarian, a wimpled nun – often pigeonholed as prudish, unleash their sexual natures upon the stage. Many of us have felt shamed by our sexual preferences or desires, which is why we love to see these stories told on stage.

Vicomte performed one of my favourite tellings of this switch in his Soldier act. Rather than a story about sexual nature, this act was about expression of masculinity- his musical soldier marches around on parade struggling to play his instruments in his tight, traditional dress, until a marvellous switch where he embraces the sexiness of camp masculinity. 

Follow Vicomte on Instagram

Donna Divine – Girl with One Eye

The music choice is often one of the first decisions when building an act, and I can’t think that Donna started anywhere else with this act, which won her the Cocoa Butter Club’s Trailblazer title last year.

I love Girl with One Eye, it is an underrated Florence and the Machine song with dark, twisted lyrics. The way Donna used it, she found all the nooks and crannies in the music to eke out the best moments for reveals- again, classic burlesque technique but on its head with a song like this. 

The only part where she acknowledged the darkness in the track was right at the end, contrasting with the colour and size and engagement she had throughout the rest of the act. 

Follow Donna on Instagramand come and see her in two Vaults shows I’m stage managing- Clandestine on Feb 11 and Bang Bang Bonanza on March 7-8. See you there!

Fae Wildfyre