“The Black Cat Cabaret draws inspiration from the absinthe-soaked heyday of Montmartre’s dark and daring cabaret underworld.”
Hosted from a secret location in Central London, The Black Cat Cabaret’s most recent offering for 2014 promises intrigue, decadence and a combined performance like no other. With several prevalent shows of note over the last year, the London cabaret scene is positively thriving. Black Cat aims to both excite and astound its guests beyond the realms of what they’d experience anywhere else. Are they successful in doing so? I went down to find out.
Doused in mystery, it’ll come as no surprise that the event is hosted from a grandiose hall within a secret location in central London. What did come as a slight surprise however, was the scale and size of the show. Who knew you could hide something so big in London?! Once you find the building down a side-street close to St Pancras station, you’re welcomed by dapperly-dressed waiting staff, who guide you to your cutesy-gothic tables decorated with ivy leaves and fairy light-laden empty bird cages. The hall has high ceilings, with more seats in the mezzanine areas, and everyone’s attention is being directed towards the centre stages. Though large, the decadent touches and bustling tables create an altogether intimate and electric atmosphere.
Compéred by the darkly humorous Reuben Kaye, you’ll be treated to a mish-mash of song, dance, acrobatics and comedy, all themed in line with the tragic Black Cat Cabaret story. Particular highlights include Vicky Butterfly and her swishy and tantalising routine, Helen Orford’s expert hula-hooping, a sizzling all-girl tango and of course, Reuben’s crude jokes and inclusive hosting prowess. Alongside the bigger acts there were also smaller snippets like the dying swan routine and a particularly poignant lip-synced cover of Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’ to keep the audience’s appetite well and truly whetted. The performers frequently roam in and around the audience, so if it’s an up close and personal show you’re after, this one’s for you.
I’m not sure whether it was the lavish décor, Reuben Kaye ’s inappropriate humour, the varied performances, or perhaps possibly, the free-flowing wine I was knocking back all evening, but I was smiling from the start of the evening, till the end. And I wasn’t the only one; there were plenty of small to bigger groups chuckling along to the show, chatting in-between acts and generally just soaking up the good-time atmosphere. Opulent, yes, but stuffy it is not. A debaucherous undertone impregnates the evening, with things really stepping up a notch for the evening's raucous after-party.
In my experience of cabaret shows of this nature, the key to success is to stand out from the crowd. The Black Cat Cabaret undoubtedly does this. The combination of the communal set up, the personable acts and the grandeur of the venue all contribute to a completely unique evening. If you’re looking to experience something a little different, with oodles of personality, The Black Cat Cabaret is a great option for doing so.