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A feature by Vanessa Bunn for EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

 

 


 

Café de Paris presents

 

London Cabaret Society

 

Café de Paris

Every Friday from 2014

 

 

 

Tucked away off the wet, grey Coventry Street pavement a suited gentleman waits to usher you into the dark opulence of Café de Paris with cordial well wishes for the evening. Once tickets are taken and outdoor clothing stowed away, mysterious characters in black hooded cloaks emerge to guide diners to their places in the Titanic Ballroom and spectators to their seats on the mezzanine. Diners choose their food in advance of the evening so shortly after being seated and served drinks, food arrives without a word, all adding to the secret society feel that permeates the evening.

Last year Agent Provocateur launched a range of lingerie which was inspired by the gateway into the tower of London known as ‘Traitors’ Gate’, entrance to both palace and prison. The first act to take the stage at Café De Paris, Anna the Hooligan, was wearing briefs, if not from that collection, then at least inspired by it. And so began an evening of carnival, wonder and acute knicker-envy. Hula-hooping prowess is Anna’s particular skill and when the feathers on her hoop are replaced with flames she looks positively delighted, encouraged to accelerate her routine to daring new heights.

The soundtrack behind the acts is comprised largely of sexed up versions of popular numbers from the likes of Adele and Florence and the Machine which creates an interesting blend of familiarity and vivacity. The widely varying acts mean that there is a genuine element of surprise about the evening. Chrisalys, for example, a heavily made-up, high-heeled savage, consumes food, wine and fire with unrelenting and equal fervour, leading the charge in the more grotesque side of the spectacle. 

What appear to be three of the mysterious hostesses saunter down the grand staircase, using and then losing their cloaks during a seductive dance routine, as Cabaret Rouge. Seamlessly choreographed, they hook a bystander and bewilder him onstage before a delighted audience. Stuart Pemberton brings his tap shoes and ball routine to a tiny table onstage and delights with his rhythm and agility. In what appears to be signature London Cabaret Society style, to dance or juggle would be too simple and so only a combination of both will do.

Miss Frisky wanders through the audience crooning beautifully, and winning attention from every quarter, looking like she’s just had a root in the wardrobe department on the set of a Tim Burton film. From the magician who wowed each table with some pre-show illusion tricks to the aerial performer who closed the show on a literal and figurative high, all seemed entirely consumed by their role within the society. Introduced with zest by compelling compère Benjamin Louche, each act lives up to their glowing recommendation.

It didn’t take much persuasion to entice me to visit this sumptuous venue and a legendary cabaret stage which Marlene Dietrich has taken to and where it is alleged Louise Brookes first danced the Charleston. It will take even less encouragement to visit again. A combination of overwhelming first impressions and awe at the history of the venue which first opened in 1924 mean that in general spirits are high and the atmosphere warm and exiting. Pleasant food, efficient service and first-rate cabaret, burlesque, aerial and sideshow acts ensure an enjoyable evening whether you have cash to splash in the ballroom or would prefer to soak up the atmosphere from the mezzanine. For a plush and decadent treat, look no further, Café de Paris unquestionably brought a splash of colour and dash of texture to the tail-end of my January. Crushed red velvet, obviously.

 

 

www.cafedeparis.com
Café de Paris
3 Coventry Street, London W1D 6BL
Contact – 020 7734 7700 / cabaret@cafedeparis.com
Tickets - £15-£75
 
 
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