Carte Blanche
  • By Mel Evans
  • |
  • 22nd Oct 2021
  • |
  • ★★★★★

To enjoy the full experience of Carte Blanche, it’s wise to arrive early. You’ll find an interesting midweek crowd - glad to be out at last and looking for a good time. People are dressed up and there’s a nice buzz; waiters glide between the sofas - trays of cocktails held aloft. You feel special, like you’ve stepped onto the set of a film - the scene set in a club where a glamorous party is in full swing.

Ashley Stroud‘s singing is worth the ticket price alone.

You order another glass of champagne, feel the bass from the sound system and feast your eyes on clips from classic dance films on the video walls that surround you. It’s quite a cinematic experience and the anticipation for what lies ahead is palpable.

When the cabaret begins, the all-female cast arrives on stage and dominates the room! They are a diverse and talented bunch, each offering something different: fire eating, pole-dancing, singing, solo routines, group routines; drawing on and combining a range of stylistic and musical genres - hip-hop, pop, R&B, music hall, burlesque, Busby Berkeley. They’re all here!

Ashley Stroud‘s singing is worth the ticket price alone.

Stealing the show is chaplinesque performer Cleopantha, taking us on a whistlestop tour of female rap artists through the ages. It’s a joyful and cheeky routine, in which she beautifully draws in the audience with comic timing and charisma.

The only downside was that the evening had to end! And it did end - rather abruptly - it is a school night after all, but it feels like the prelude to a big night out. You just want to order another drink and start dancing, but the lights come up and it’s time to go home. Let’s hope it gets moved to the weekend!

Overall it’s a great show - a night of talent and charm - sexy but not vulgar. Go with a group if you can.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Mel Evans

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

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.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
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.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Lights! Feathers! Showgirls!  From shocking neo-burlesque to jaw-dropping acrobatic feats Carte Blanche is an unforgettable night of camp fun and cabaret performed by an all girl and predominantly POC cast of modern day Follies. Inspired by badass women and heroines of hip hop and Hollywood, Thee Showgirls will take you on a glamorous and colourful ride from Carmen Jones to Cardi B;  a journey of mind blowing mash up tributes to the women that never play by the rules. 

Whether you’re a Roxie, a Carmen, or Thee Showgirl herself- this is the night to live with complete freedom!

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