The Rising Sun Follies Brings in the Clowns


Miss Hiccup

Japanese clown Miss Hiccup wants to come to Montreal, and the only thing stopping her is the number of yen required. Fortunately, Miss Hiccup has friends who don’t mind dressing up and then taking it all off to help her foot the bill.

The Rising Sun Follies is an annual fundraiser created by Montreal burlesque artists Holly Gauthier-Frankel (Miss Sugarpuss) and Cherry Typhoon. Although not necessarily Japanese in its content, the Follies raises funds for Japan and Japanese artists. This year, the show is helping Japanese director, writer, and performer Yanomi of Shoshinz (aka Miss Hiccup) come to Montreal in January.

Yanomi made a splash at this year’s Fringe Festival, winning the Centaur pick for Best Production – English Theatre Award with her company’s production, My Exploding Family. Known internationally for her funny, physical performances, she was invited to bring her one-woman show, A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup, to the Centaur Wildside Festival This January. The show first appeared at the Montreal Fringe two years ago and has received international acclaim for its creativity, fast pace and all-around insanity.

“Yanomi’s unlike anything you see here in Montreal,” Gauthier-Frankel explains. “She really has her own flair. Anything our Japanese friends have done has been jaw-dropping, original and masterfully precise. Yanomi is simply hilarious.”

The Rising Sun Follies fundraiser for Yanomi features nine acts, including some of Montreal’s best known burlesque performers (Miss Sugarpuss, Miss Seska Lee, the Lady Josephine, Sucre à La Crème) as well as some newbies to the art of a-peel (Penny Romanoff and Betty Wild). Attendees can expect Japanese musical numbers by Les Doux Cactus, who are reuniting just for the show, and a traditional dance performance by Sae Sasaki.

“It’s a standard variety show, hosted by myself and Cherry Typhoon,” says Gauthier-Frankel. “We’re cutting it down to the bare essentials of people getting naked, people playing music and beer.”

While one goal of the Rising Sun Follies is to help artists travel between Japan and Montreal, it also helps charities in need. Last year, funds raised were sent to the children of Tohoku Rainbow House, a charity that supports orphaned children.

“It’s important to keep the cultural and artistic bridge flowing,” Gauthier-Frankel says. ■

The Rising Sun Follies is at the Mainline Theatre (3997 St-Laurent) Saturday Sept. 22, 8:30 p.m., $15

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