Popular cabaret features
As well as a packed schedule in his capacity as the scene’s pre-eminent lobber-and-catcher of balls, boxes, pins, blades, wine glasses and bowling balls, Mat Ricardo has popped up on TV alongside Jonathan Ross and Alan Titchmarsh, as well as doing his patented reverse-tablecloth-pull on an income-protection ad.
When Time Out & Soho Theatre launched TO&ST: the Edinburgh Cabaret Award, we set out to find an electric talent who could serve as an ambassador for the best in contemporary cabaret to a general audience unfamiliar with the form. A tall order? Yep. Tough competition? Sure. Did we find a winner? Oh, hell, yes – we found Lady Rizo.
From its beginnings in late 2011, it was clear that ‘Sleaze’, at Camden’s Lockside Lounge, was a bit special. Conceived by supersmart shock merchant Mat Fraser and saucepot Trixie Malicious – joined by Hit Man Hearn and Miss Cairo – its deliciously scuzzy mix of go-go dancing, games, fun, art, smut, satire and tits soon found an appreciative audience.
Boredom, nudity, Céline Dion, nine-year-olds and ‘trannies with fannies’ – 2013 will be another provocative year in cabaret. Take a look at the acts Ben Walters is especially excited about.
It was a big year for cabaret in London as the scene and its performers continued to move from strength to strength. With 2012 drawing to a close, Time Out's Cabaret Editor Ben Walters takes a look back at the most memorable cabaret and burlesque moments of the previous twelve months, selecting his five favourites (and one absolute stinker).
Judgements on ‘The X Factor’ veer between two poles. The best contenders can hope for is to be called ‘relevant’. At the other end of the spectrum, acts the judges don’t like are often labelled ‘cabaret’ – meaning cheesy, showy, based on belting out big notes or pleasing middle-aged cruise passengers.
There’s more to cabaret than lounge-singing crooners. With niches ranging from retro-style burlesque to drag queens, satirical wordsmiths to avant-garde situationists and polished character comedians to spine-stretching circus acts, no two shows are quite the same. Such diversity within the cabaret scene begs one question: where can you find the good stuff?
Boris and Sergey are a couple of two-foot-high, filthy little Balkan charmers, and the stars of their own semi-improvised grown-up bunraku (Japanese puppet theatre) show. The puppeteers’ visibility does nothing to undermine this duo’s seedy allure, whether they’re mounting cod-blockbuster set-pieces or losing their souls at poker.
London has been enjoying a cabaret boom for a decade now, from vintage-infused nudie burlesque to truly bonkers alternative drag acts. Yet many Londoners who might have heard about the cabaret revival still aren’t quite sure what the word means. Ben Walters has put together a few pointers to make sense of it all.