Candid Cabaret

I had never been to a strip club before. Arriving early at the Sapphire Rooms, I was the first person there by some ten whole minutes. This gave me opportunity to marvel at the UV glow of my G&T, the forest of metal poles, and the mirrored walls which reflected the club’s artwork/catalogue into infinity.Candid Cabaret sells itself on the smuttier side of its genre, however this is false advertising. Sure, some of the participants toed the line between performance art and sex act, but the show lacked a sustained sense of sensuality which the blurb suggested. Our compère was a pretty Scottish lass but had no trace of sexiness, let alone sass or – god forbid – personality. She, along with her rag-tag bunch of performers, gave a dullness to proceedings that no squalid glitter ball could light up. The mixed bag of acts did contain some real gems. Parker Genné, in her ‘Miss Louisa’ persona, gave an oddly sexualised mix of character comedy, well-executed opera, and spaghetti. Her voice control was incredible – especially as she was wolfing down her plate of pasta. The 3 Gaga Heads from Japan did the most incredible things I have ever seen concerning morph suits, but if they thought their following fart routine, complete with strap-on front-bums, was funny or sexual then they might need professional help. The ‘boylesque’ stylings of Tom DeLish were another highlight, although I could sense that some of the regulars were unhappy with him being the only actual stripper of the evening. I haven’t seen much on-stage male stripping, but DeLish’s routine was well structured and his movements were sharp – I presume this was a shining example of taking one’s clothes off the right way. I also enjoyed his rough-and-ready rendition of ‘Taylor the Latte Boy’ – one of my favourite songs – which showed a commitment to the gender-bending tradition of burlesque.All in all I feel that Candid Cabaret was sexualised rather than sensual – like the dead eyes of a call-girl. At the end we were told to finish our drinks and leave before the venue resumed as a strip club at eleven.

Reviews by James Robert Ball

Leicester Square Theatre

De Profundis

★★★★

Another Way

★★★

Solstice

★★★

The Walls

★★★

Since you’re here…

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You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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The Blurb

Sapphire Rooms offers resplendent revelations of arts and entertainment throughout the festival. Top-quality evening performances: from mischievous burlesque shows to acrobatic aerial performances. We will ensure none of your senses find rest within the walls of this decadent venue.

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