Cabaret Roulette

PHB’s Free Fringe often uses some odd venues and this one, in the small disco downstairs at The Street, is cramped with awkwardly-shaped seating making it difficult for the whole audience to see the acts. Cabaret Roulette is a regular hit night at Madame JoJo’s cabaret bar in Soho; the roulette part refers to the audience picking random topics and voting on one to challenge an act to device a brand new show on that topic to be performed the following month. That’s the London version. In Edinburgh, the act gets just 24 hours.

Miss Jones was a funny and warm host but the whole colourful experience was hampered by lack of space for both audience and performers

Cabaret Roulette’s beguiling MC Miss Jones sang an interesting take on Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, then introduced four diverse acts. The first was Raven Noir who filled the small catwalk/stage with her fabulous cloak of black feathers, long black hair, thigh tattoos and alluring personality. She was more goddess than gothic. Next came stand-up comedian Paul Savage. Fringe returner Savage opened with a great chemistry joke then delivered some well-crafted observational comedy. However, he took a giant leap back to the dark ages of less evolved, unfunny times with his comparison of women and cars. It was a surprising and badly judged addition to an otherwise decent turn. The illusionists Griffin & Jones rumbled onto the catwalk and bumbled their way through to the end of a possibly clever illusion. It was a shame that some of the audience could not see what was going on. Last came Cabaret Roulette resident performer, the super-chatty Anna Lou, with her beautiful accordion and potty-mouthed – so much sexier with outrageous French accent – lament. Entertaining enough but not an overly strong closing act. In between performers the comically prissy Missy came to clear up.

It would be fun to go along on consecutive nights to see what the chosen act - this time it was Griffin & Jones - made of the roulette challenge, plus some different acts. Miss Jones was a funny and warm host but the whole colourful experience was hampered by lack of space for both audience and performers. In terms of space there’s intimate and then there’s discomfort; this entertaining troupe deserve better. I hope this doesn’t put them off returning next year but to a more suitable venue. 

Reviews by Sarah McIntosh

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Presenting the best of ‘one of the most imaginative shows in London’ (ThisIsCabaret.com), this is cabaret for people bored of cabaret. Straight from London’s West End, Cabaret Roulette is shaking up the UK cabaret scene by throwing out old ideas and challenging artists to push beyond their comfort zones to create something truly fresh and extraordinary. Selected from two years of sell-out shows, the acts coming to Edinburgh capture Cabaret Roulette’s spirit of creativity and risk-taking. Unexpected, hilarious, and thought-provoking, this true variety show is ‘guaranteed to have you crawling back for more’ (Time Out).

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