An evening of spectacular live performances in a devilishly decadent hotel on Regent Street; curiously enticing to say the least. Word has gotten around that The Black Cat Cabaret has become something of an institution in the world of vaudeville: I couldn't possibly decline the opportunity to sample the artistic delights and theatrical to-do of The Black Cat Cabaret's Salon Des Artistes.
Never in my life have I been surrounded by so many gold things. Upon entry into the modestly sized Grill Room of the Cafe Royal Hotel, one is immediately immersed in a palatial realm of utter splendour. Gold leaf covers the intricate detailing of the carved coving, whilst the mirror-lined walls serve to multiply the grandeur, duplicating the plush crimson seats that scatter the space to exude an overwhelming sense of luxury. Leather bound menus recount visits from Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf, and it soon becomes apparent that the rich detailing of the space pays an honest tribute to the history of the venue, reflecting the pedigree of the building with grace and flair.
The Atmosphere & Clientele
One might expect to find themselves somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer opulence of the venue; I found quite the opposite. Rather, the infamous Grill Room manages to retain a sense of intimacy, giving the impression that the Salon Des Artistes is something of a cloak-and-dagger affair to reinforce the sense of privilege one feels as they take their seats. Arriving early, we were soon surrounded by well dressed ladies and gentlemen, laden with gold things to work well with the surroundings.
Guests are graciously welcomed at the door, duly shown to their seats and introduced to their waiter for the evening; drinks were somewhat pricey, although the grandeur setting and the luxe ambiance marry to make this feel like an occasion, and justify 'splashing out' as a worthy treat. We ordered a large Gin & Tonic and an Old Fashioned, both of which are mixed impeccably and served with a smile; an important feature which contributes significantly to the luxurious atmosphere.
The overwhelming opulence of the venue heightens the sense of space and drama, offering something of a performance in itself. Compere Reuben Kaye sets the tone for the evening and is undoubtedly one of its highlights, delivering raucous quips in between charismatic renditions of classic sing-a-longs. This charmingly cocksure fella made regular passes at unexpecting audience members, and even confiscated a mobile phone at one point; a personal highlight. The talents of musician Jaz Delorean were showcased throughout the evening, along with impressive acrobatics from Felip Reyes; whilst the show itself seemed fairly short, the performances were nothing short of spectacular, offering a fascinating snapshot into the world of cabaret and vaudeville.
Unashamedly decadent, Black Cat Cabaret Salon Des Artistes delivers an exquisite evening of fine dining and immersive entertainment in the most magnificent of settings. Every aspect of the evening hearkens back to the history of the venue, and as one wines and dines, one cannot help but feel that the space has been utilised in such a way that Wilde, Shaw and Woolf would be proud of.