Nightlife, Cabaret and burlesque
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Sophie Walsh-Harrington’s ‘Damsel in Shining Armour’ was a triumphant and award-winning fusion of storytelling and self-mythologisation, glitter confetti and the Celine Dion songbook. Walsh-Harrington’s follow-up, ‘Hot’, sees her tilting into narcissistic overdrive with a show about the cabaret equivalent of second-album syndrome: how to follow such a hit? Derivative high concepts, experimental theatre, even retirement are all turned over as options in a peculiar show that is never less than compelling but also strangely hollow: Walsh-Harrington is a charismatic and a consummate performer with superb control of the room and fearless audience engagement skills; yet ‘Hot’ is so flagrantly self-absorbed, self-conscious and self-critiquing (‘These ideas ­ they’re all so self-indulgent. Me, me, me!’) that it seems almost to consume itself and vanish in a glitterball-lit puff of dry ice, leaving us blinking and none the wiser.