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The spirit of old Mortmartre comes to Underbelly Festival with the Black Cat Cabaret

© Black Cat Cabaret

Showgirls, acrobats, music and more as the Black Cat Cabaret pitches up at the Underbelly Festival this summer

Bringing a bit of sauce to this summer’s Underbelly Festival is The Black Cat Cabaret. The Parisian-inspired show will be at the pop-up venue on London’s South Bank from 20 May 2017 throughout the season.

The dark and daring cabaret extravaganza will be reviving the spirit of vintage Mortmartre at the Underbelly’s Spiegeltent. Guests will be wowed by the high-kicking showgirls, jaw-dropping acrobats, comic street singers, a fire-breathing siren and daredevil aerialists. Compered by the fabulous Dusty Limits, a talented array of performers will take to the stage, including absinthe-addled artistes, flame-haired courtesans and bittersweet comic chanteuses. Expect to be entertained with a combination of high skills circus, original music and choreography.

This summer marks the fourth year the Black Cat Cabaret have wowed the Underbelly (previously known as Udderbelly) crowd. This year’s run will feature the BCC’s original ‘after-hours Montmartre’ show for the first time since 2014. As well as Underbelly, the BCC have also appeared at a host of London’s top nightspots including Café de Paris, Hotel Café Royal, the Hippodrome Casino,  and the former Pigalle Club. The show will also be pitching up at Live At Zédel in Piccadilly with their more intimate ‘Salon des Artistes’ dinner and show.

  • The Black Cat Cabaret will be at the Underbelly Festival once a month from 20 May – 22 September 2017. At Jubilee Gardens, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. Tickets from £22.50. Over 18s only. For more information, visit the Black Cat website. Tickets can be purchased on the Underbelly website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in June, click here.

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House of Q @ Crazy Coqs: Cabaret, magic and burlesque at the West End’s intimate nightspot

House Of Q © Tigz Rice Studios 2016. http://www.tigzrice.com

House Of Q (L-R: Illusionist Neil Kelso, showgirl Felicity Furore and singer Mercury)
© Tigz Rice Studios 2016

While it looks like a chic French brasserie from street level, Zedel in Piccadilly is actually a multi-function venue, offering entertainment, dining and drinking. I’ve been a fan of Bar Americain at Zedel since I first discovered it last year and have been charmed by the Art Deco interiors. Halfway downstairs to the basement level – which features Bar Americain and Brasserie Zedel’s main dining room – is an intimate little club called the Crazy Coqs.

Earlier this year, the venue launches its Live at Zedel series, comprising a series of talks, performance and other entertainment across Crazy Coqs and Brasserie Zedel. Last week, I was invited to check out the House Of Q – a cabaret and variety act at the Crazy Coqs. Stepping inside, the CC (as I’m calling it) is a cosy little nightspot with a vintage style, black and white interiors. Small tables, individual lighting and curved chairs face the intimate stage. The menu features a mix of wines, bubbles, cocktails and a few bar snacks, such as chips, deep fried prawns and pork belly if you’re feeling peckish.

House Of Q perform monthly at the Crazy Coqs with their unique mix of magic, burlesque and music. The ‘House’ is comprised of singer Mercury, showgirl Felicity Furore and illusionist Neil Kelso. Each of the three acts have their own distinct personalities and talents. Felicity is confident and sexy, Mercury is the host with the most, but isn’t afraid to show his vulnerable side, while Neil initially comes across as bashful, before his quirkiness and humour shines through. Despite the limited space and props, the trio move seamlessly from one different segment to the next. Being in such a venue, it’s no surprise to see there is some audience participation, with guests invited to take part in magic tricks. While, admittedly the acts are very different, there’s certainly something for everyone and it’s not just for your typical cabaret fans. On the night in question, there were many big groups of friends celebrating birthdays or Christmas. Mercury veered off a traditional cabaret songbook with his own musical offering about life as a barista – a witty and humorous take on life behind the counter catering to the whim of London’s demanding coffee drinkers. By the end of the show, we left feeling humoured, entertained and slightly tipsy thanks to their delicious cocktails. The House of Q are preparing a new show for 2017, so I definitely recommend checking them out.

  • Live At Zedel takes place at Crazy Coqs, 20 Sherwood Street, Soho, W1F 7ED. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Brasserie Zedel website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

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London Never Dies: Enjoy a James Bond-style evening at London Cabaret Club

© London Cabaret Club

The London Cabaret Club’s production London Never Dies is on at the Bloomsbury Ballroom
© London Cabaret Club

With the release of new James Bond film Spectre this week, everyone is talking about 007. So why not have your own super spy-inspired experience at a sexy and entertaining evening at London Cabaret Club?

The pop-up club will be setting up camp at London’s Art Deco Bloomsbury Ballroom ahead of their grand opening in the same venue next year. Every week, over the weekends of 30-31 October and 6-7 November, the talented cast will be bringing the glamour, mystery and excitement of Bond to life.

© London Cabaret Club

Watch the glamour and the excitement of 007 come to life at the London Cabaret Club
© London Cabaret Club

Having kicked off earlier this month, the LCC will be performing different shows every week based on a different Bond film. Diners will find their meals inspired by the exotic locations of each film. Guests can expect to be dazzled with fabulous costumes, original choreography, exclusive music and high production values as the dancers bring Bond to life.

Following a three or four-course dinner and the show, live DJs will take to the decks so you can shake a tailfeather until the early hours.

Evelina Girling, CEO and Co-Founder of the London Cabaret Club said: ‘To celebrate the James Bond fever that is soon to hit London, we are launching our Boutique Shows this Autumn, celebrating 50 years of British espionage presenting the show London Never Dies.’

Tickets start from £40 (Show only), £75 (Gold tickets, includes 3-course dinner and access to Rose Room Lounge), and £105 (Diamond tickets, includes VIP seating, 4-course dinner, theatrical cocktail and access to Rose Room Lounge).

  • The London Cabaret Club Ltd is on at Bloomsbury Ballroom, Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, WC1B 4DA. Nearest station: Holborn. London Never Dies is on until 7 November 2015. LCC will also be returning for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve shows. For more information and booking, visit The London Cabaret Club website.

For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.

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Roll up, roll up to the Spiegeltent: Comedy, music, acrobatics and more come to Canary Wharf

Ready Steady Colour

Ready Steady Colour, an interactive theatre experience for families, is among the entertainment at the Spiegeltent in Canary Wharf this September

With its skyscraper offices and busy professionals, Canary Wharf is usually associated with work. However, this September, the area is getting a huge injection of fun in the form of a 11 day festival in The Spiegeltent. Pitching up at Canary Square Park, The Spiegeltent will host comedy, music, dance, cabaret, acrobatics, theatre for both adults and families.

Opening the festival is award-winning Las Vegas veteran Peggy Sued with a variety night, featuring Pete Firman, Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer, Rod Laver, Felipe Reyes and burlesque bombshell Sophia St Villier. There’ll be the unique blend of circus swing and burlesque folk of Gabby Young + Other Animals plus the Nest Collective House Ceilidh Band.

Boudoir Circus 2

Aircraft Circus presents Boudoir Circus, a sexy mix of acrobatics and dance
© Dimitris Amvrazis

One of the Spiegeltent’s biggest acts will be Scotland’s internationally acclaimed and award-winning ‘half-man-half-Xbox’ Daniel Sloss, brining his Edinburgh Festival hit show Dark.

On 15 September, Alex Horne and The Horne Section will be getting the crowd laughing with their new barnstorming mix of stand-up and music. Turning circus on its head will be the Aircraft Circus presenting Boudoir Circus, a dark and sexy soiree with acrobatics and dance.

As well as performances, there will be workshops too so you can acquire new skills and entertain the children. Learn to dance with the London Academy Of Dance, create your own scrapbook with Shimelle and ice gingerbreads to perfection with Serena Montesissa. The kids will be able to burn off some energy at the Big Fish Little Fish and their Family Rave. Or get the children into comedy early at Comedy Club 4 Kids, with stand-up and sketch from Luke Toulson, Bec Hill and Howard Read. Other family entertainment includes musical workshops by Boppin Bunnies, Bach to Baby and Theatre of Widdershins performing their musical puppetry show The Elves and The Shoemaker.

Other acts performing over the festival include improvisation comedy champions BattleActs!, psychic siblings Twins Macabre, BBC Folk Club winners The Nest Collective, Nepalese band Night and impressionist, art-folk ensemble Firefly Burning.

During the festival, there will a bar providing refreshments while the many restaurants and bars of Canary Wharf will be moments away should you wish to eat.

  • The Spiegeltent will run at Canary Wharf from 10-20 September 2015. The tent will be pitched at Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14 5AH. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. Ticket prices range from free to £16 depending on event. For most tickets, visit SeeTickets, or for Daniel Sloss tickets, visit LiveNation.

For a guide to what else is on in London in September, click here.

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Turning circus on its head (and then some): Scotch & Soda headlines London Wonderground

© Matilda Temperly

Scotch & Soda headlines London Wonderground this summer
© Matilda Temperly

It’s nearly that time of year again – when the Southbank becomes a hotbed of international entertainment at pop-up venue London Wonderground. The festival will be returning to Jubilee Gardens for the fourth year in a row with its heady mix of circus, cabaret, booze, food and fairground rides.

Headlining this year’s entertainment is the critically-acclaimed production of Scotch & Soda. Imagine a group of friends get together and after a few drinks, decide to show off their party tricks. Jazz fusion group Ben Walsh’s Crusty Suitcase Band has teamed up with some of Australia’s top acrobats to create a boozy mix of cabaret and circus. With talented stars from previous productions such as Cantina, La Clique, Cirque and Tom Tom Crew, there will be gravity-defying tricks and beatnik soul galore.

Following hit runs in Sydney and Edinburgh, Wonderground marks the first time Scotch & Soda are coming to the capital. The production will run six nights a week from 14 May until early August, with Sunday matinees.

  • Scotch & Soda is on at London Wonderground in Jubilee Gardens from 14 May – 2 August 2015. Nearest station: Waterloo. Tuesday to Sunday 7.30pm, Sunday matinees 4pm, No performances on Monday or 2 June, 14 June, 15 June, 16 June, 17 June, 14 July and 28 July. Tickets: £12.50. Suitable for ages 12+. To book phone: 0844 545 8282 or visit www.londonwonderground.co.uk or www.southbankcentre.co.uk.
  • London Wonderground runs at Jubilee Gardens from 7 May until 27 September 2015.

For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.

For Metro Girl’s post on a previous London Wonderground, click here.

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Competition! Win tickets to see Meow Meow at London Wonderground

© Harmony Nicholas for Boom Ents

Meow Meow: Feline Intimate runs at London Wonderground for just three weeks
© Harmony Nicholas for Boom Ents

This month, the brilliant London Wonderground returned to the Southbank for the third year in a row. As well as providing an opportunity to eat and drink alfresco and ride in the funfair, there is also the chance to enjoy a wide range of entertainment over the summer in the pop-up theatre.

One of the biggest draws this season is the fabulous post-post-modern showgirl MEOW MEOW, who is making her London Wonderground début with her dazzling show Feline Intimate. Following her hit West End shows, and a critically acclaimed season at the Southbank Centre, the crowd-surfing queen of song will be wowing the Wonderground for just three weeks only with her unique brand of kamikaze cabaret. Be ready for anything, from Brecht to Radiohead… and her own original material.

Just in time for Memoirs Of A Metro Girl’s 2nd anniversary this week, we have teamed up with Boom Ents to offer you and a friend the chance to win two pairs of tickets to see the sexy chanteuse in action. All you have to do is answer this question in the form below correctly to be in with a chance.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Wonderground returns to Jubilee Gardens

Q) Meow Meow starred in The Umbrella’s Of Cherbourg in London’s West End in March 2011. What theatre did the show play in?

A) The Apollo Theatre

B) The Shaftesbury Theatre

C) The Gielgud Theatre

Terms and conditions

Winners will be selected at random from all correct entries. Winner receives a pair of tickets see Meow Meow at the London Wondergound for any Monday – Friday performance. Over 18s only. Tickets to be collected at the box office with no cash alternative. Tickets are subject to availability and cannot be resold or transferred to another performance. Competition is run by boom ents.

This competition has now closed. Thanks to those who entered. Only the winner will be notified.

  • Meow Meow: Feline Intimate is on at London Wonderground from 20 May – 8 June 2014. Wonderground is open daily at Jubilee Gardens until late September. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the London Wonderground website. Ticket prices: Previews 20 – 22 May: £15.50 or Wonder seats: £20.50 (concessions £14). Tuesday and Wednesday £17.50, Wonder seats £22.50 (concessions £16).  Thursday – Saturday £19.50, Wonder seats £24.50 (concessions £18).

For Metro Girl’s blog on London Wonderground last year, click here.

Cellar Door review: Cocktails, cabaret and popcorn in converted Victorian conveniences!

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Drink and be entertained in Cellar Door, a bar in a converted Victorian men’s public toilet

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Angel Eyes cocktail (Nicaraguan White Rum, Blackberry Liqueur, Campari, freshly squeezed Lemon Juice and Soda

Cellar Door is perhaps one of the most unique drinking spots in the capital. Located at Zero Aldwych on the junction with Wellington Street, this intimate bar and club is actually in a former Victorian men’s public toilet! According to their website, it was previously one of  the most infamous men’s toilets in Theatreland, with Oscar Wilde, Sir John Gielgud and Joe Orton among its former users. However, don’t be fooled and think you may be drinking among porcelain urinals. This small space has been cleverly converted into an entertainment venue, with just the square windows from the street above the only hint at its former incarnation.

The entrance certainly gives a hint of the grandeur which lurks below with red VIP-style velvet rope outside the door. Once you’re downstairs, a doorman sweeps open the velvet curtain to reveal the space – a bustling well-lit bar to the left, a mix of sofa and bar stool seating and a little ‘stage’ area in the corner. The venue includes just two actual toilets – which, fortunately, could not be further from the ones which would have stood here over 100 years ago. The cubicle doors appear to be worryingly clear when you first step in, but cleverly ‘frosts’ over when you lock it… so make sure you do! Entrance is free and so is the entertainment, but a service charge is added to your drinks to cover both.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Unique: The red velvet ropes and neon sign gives a hint of what’s to come

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Order a cocktail, bottle of wine or even snuff at the bustling bar

A few female friends and I visited on a Saturday night and were lucky to get the last table and stools. As you would expect, there isn’t much space so it’s worth arriving early or reserving. The bar is open from around 6pm and includes entertainment from 9pm nightly and gets full pretty quickly. We managed to get in a round of cocktails during the Happy Hour (1/3 off), which finishes at 8pm. Their extensive menu features a range of original and classic cocktails, with many themed around the bar’s style icons Marilyn Monroe, Betty Page and Dita Von Teese. I started with an Angel Eyes (Nicaraguan white rum, Blackberry liqueur, Campari, lemon juice and soda), a sharp but refreshing long drink. I followed with an old classic – a Moscow Mule (Vodka with fresh line, sugar and ginger). As well as cocktails, wine, hot drinks, they also sell snuff, which fits in with the retro basement dive vibe. The Cellar Door ‘Angel’ waitress serves your drinks with complimentary popcorn, although there is a small bar menu, serving food like olives, nuts and pitta plates.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Fancy some snuff on the side of your cocktail?

At 9pm every night, the entertainment kicks off. Includes cabaret, DJs, magic acts, film screenings, drag queens and open mic nights. On the night we were there, we were provided with a soundtrack and some laughs by a flamboyant drag DJ. Unfortunately, we missed the burlesque act which performed later on, so I will have a make a repeat visit to see more of the entertainment. Overall, I really liked Cellar Door. The venue was cosy and intimate, the bar staff were friendly and what we saw of the entertainment was good. The clientele was a friendly crowd ranging from 20s to 40s. The cocktails were really delicious and I was tempted by many of the original concoctions, so will have to make a return visit to try those out.

  • Cellar Door, Zero Aldwych, WC2E 7DN. Open from 6pm until 1am nightly (sometimes opens earlier for weekend events). Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Temple. For more information and listings, visit Cellar Door’s website.

To read more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, check out our contents page.

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Ooh la la! Crazy Horse cabaret comes to London with Forever Crazy

© Forever Crazy 2012

Are you ready to go crazy? Paris cabaret Crazy Horse comes to London in Forever Crazy
© Forever Crazy 2012

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Light up my life: The venue sets the mood with neon-lighting
and luxurious chairs

Le Crazy Horse is a legendary nightspot in Paris, with tourists and locals alike flocking to the nude cabaret. The club was started in 1951 by Alain Bernardin with the premise of deliberating hiring females dancers who are indistinguishable in height and breast size. Following decades of entertaining people in Paris, the club has come to London in a new production, Forever Crazy.

West End impresario Harvey Goldsmith has wisely spotted a gap in the market for some male and female-friendly adult entertainment by opening a pop-up version of the club on London’s Southbank this autumn. While many women wouldn’t feel comfortable in lap-dancing clubs, Crazy Horse is very female-friendly. The dancers are far from the EE-cup, surgically enhanced women we associate with other seedier establishments. They are sexy, classy with plenty of personality. The 10-strong cast have similar svelte figures with an impressive Christian Louboutin collection – prompting both body and shoe envy amongst myself and my fellow female audience members.

© Forever Crazy 2012

Shoe envy… and leg envy: The dancers wear Christian Louboutin heels during the show
© Forever Crazy 2012

Forever Crazy takes place in a temporary venue just opposite the National Theatre. As you walk in, you are instantly transported to the heady nightlife of Paris with the velvet curtains, neon-lighting and framed photos giving a hint of what’s to come. Going through to the bar, you are greeted by chandeliers, chaise longues and cheeky images setting the mood for the luxury and sexiness on its way. The actual stage area is an intimate space – with tables at the front for those able to pay a bit more, with a semi-circle of seating for everyone else. The venue’s size means everyone has a good view of the action. The show has become one of the hottest spots in town with a celebrity clientele. On the night I visited, I spotted Kelly Brook, Thom Evans, Leigh Francis (aka Keith Lemon), Professor Green and Millie Mackintosh in the audience. Just like a cabaret club, you are able to drink a bottle of wine or bubbly while enjoying the entertainment.

When the lights went down it was super-dark – but this soon makes sense due to the stunning lighting and special effects used during the production. The show is opened with a London twist, with the cast marching on stage dressed as royal horse guards for ‘God Save Our Bareskins’… with slightly less clothing than we would see outside Buckingham Palace of course! The show consisted of different segments of either solo or group performances, combining  dance, seduction, singing and a cheeky sense of humour. While some were original pieces from the Paris club, some have been specially conceived for the show.

© Forever Crazy 2012

Cheeky: The dancers deliberately have similar builds and shapes © Forever Crazy 2012

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Intimate: The pop-up venue is plush and intimate, so the audience members can relax
with a bottle of wine while being entertained

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Well, yes… it is sexy indeed!

The two-hour show is strictly for over 18s due to the nudity and saucy jokes – the ‘Up And Over It’ segment depicting a couple arguing after a hedonistic night out is particularly hilarious, but obviously not suitable for young eyes. I particularly enjoyed ‘Chain Gang’, where a dancer dressed as a caged animal showed off her flexibility in a feisty and fast-paced segment and ‘Crisis? What Crisis!’, a fitting tribute to the City in this time of austerity and financial uncertainty. Unsurprisingly, the stock goes up as the dancer strips off!

While the dancers are often nude during the show, it’s thanks to the lighting and trickery you don’t ever see them truly naked. While the cast are stunning and talented, the nature of the production means women in the audience aren’t left feeling awkward, more likely inspired. I personally felt the need to hit the gym after seeing their rock hard abs and toned legs. The spectacle had enough variety and change of pace to keep the audience on their toes during the show. I can thoroughly recommend Crazy Horse as spectacular and entertaining night out for those who want something a little different from the usual West End theatre or dinner with friends.

  • Forever Crazy is on at London’s Southbank from now until December 2012. For more information and tickets, visit Forever Crazy’s website. Tickets start from £35.
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Pop-up: Forever Crazy is on at London’s Soutbank until December 2012