Anything Goes Cabaret: An Evening of Dark Decadence

0 Comments 07 October 2011

Anything Goes Cabaret begins, surprisingly, with a history lesson. We are introduced to post-war Berlin, a time where “the rules were thrown out” and life, love and lust were celebrated.

This is a warning.

The acts range from noir burlesque dance by Miss Kerryx, to manlesque and puppet-like circus acts from Defy, to expressionistic burlesque from the show’s creator, Venus Vamp. We were guided through the night by acting MC Madam Natalia, better known as Mama, since the usual hostess – dead, German transvestite “Blue Angel” – was hit by a bus and “spread like jam on the road”. As you watch, Mama skillfully guides you through your (often confused) feelings, bringing the underground to the surface for a brief moment, and asking you to “forget what the world wants you to be”.For a fill-in, Mama had me fooled. Her quick witted, femme fatale character kept even the worst of hecklers in line, and her mix of dry innuendo and powerful singing made for the perfect segue between the acts, which were both tantalising and shocking.

But is it strange to say I got bored of strip teases? It feels odd to go to Anything Goes Cabaret and say I wanted more, but at the beginning that’s how it felt. Their promo had shown acts of burlesque contortion and expressionistic dance with non-PG themes, and while what there was of this was expertly done, at the start it felt as though it wouldn’t be enough. But as the show progressed the acts became more intriguing, so by the end I’d forgotten my doubts.

Red Bennies – a cabaret bar, rather than a theatre – is a fantastic venue, with front row seats if you want to be in on the action (and I mean in on it), or a mezzanine if you prefer to be far away from the performers’ roaming hands. A show you won’t have seen before, it takes hold of your senses, rips you out of your comfort zone, and then makes you question your own morality. Recommended, but watch out for Mama – she’s on the prowl.

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