Reviewer: Iain Sykes
Vive Le Cabaret, now in its fifth year, offers us a variety of speciality acts from burlesque to musical to circus acts, all in its own inimitable cabaret style.
Guest Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Benjamin Louche, manages to be as crude and cutting as the position requires yet somehow his stage persona doesn’t manage to work the audience into the necessary frenzy for the acts. The performers themselves are naturally a mixed bag. Young magician, Simon Self, produces a set of standard card and metal ring tricks which, though very clever, need a more forceful act than he currently has to sell them to people at the back of a room the size of this particular theatre. In fairness, his card trick in his second spot is more impressive, if still nothing new.
Chanteuse, Em Brulee, a gorgeous vision in red with a wonderful voice to match the image, performs four songs throughout the evening, definitely (as she says) showing off her obsession with Nina Simone as well as including sparkling versions of couple of songs made famous by Liza Minnelli in the musical, Cabaret. Burlesque tease comes from Gypsy Charms with a rather sensual act with a fur coat and a nice comedic spot after the interval as alter ego, Morag McTavish, the Scottish burlesque fitness instructor, who probably gets the audience more interested in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in one ten minute act than a whole series of TV adverts has done.
Of course, everybody has their favourite style of acts in cabaret, but for this reviewer there are two outstanding performances of the evening. Contortionist and aerialist, Jo Foley, spends her first spot twisted into so many impossible positions that you can here several audience members actually wincing, and definitely earns her Louche’s accolade of “the human pretzel”. Her second spot, an aerial performance joined by Graeme Clint on the trapeze, defies description, needless to say there are more than a few heart stopping and “how do they do that?” moments.
The show stealer, however, is A.J.James, with a well honed act of knife juggling, balancing and escapology, packed with audience involvement, and great improvised one-liners alongside the physical aspects of the performance. This man should be a star.
On a different night, it could feel totally different but here the mixed audience reactions to the acts on stage, and the amount of filling between acts ensures that this particular evening, disappointingly feels like it doesn’t run just a smoothly as it could. Despite these small niggles, the talent of the top performers on stage is still enough to carry the show through.
Photo: Dareen Cheshire | Reviewed on 19th July 2014