Joe Black: Meet Me At The Eldorado

In this lushly hilarious show, noir superstar Joe Black conjures up the atmosphere of the Eldorado; the Berlin nightclub that served as a regular haunt for gay men and women before it was closed by the Nazis in 1932. Originally, El Dorado was the name used by the Spanish Empire to describe a mythical golden city they believed to be hidden somewhere in South America. In hindsight, the infamous Weimar-era nightclub has taken on a similarly mythic and untouchable aura. It survives in the history books as a sacred space between the two World Wars in which openly gay people, transvestites and other sexual or gender rebels could freely mingle, enjoy themselves and watch performers like Marlene Dietrich.

The audience are here to have a good time and indeed they do – we were a raucous, boozy crowd which Mr Black could cater to perfectly

Now, zoom forward through the best part of a century. Here we are in the Spiegeltent, right in the thick of the Brighton Fringe. It’s the year 2017, but many people are arguing that the regressive politics of the early 20th century have resurfaced. In a world where every election result feels like an international disaster and armed police are patrolling our streets, there is a genuine need for theatre that takes risks, pokes fun, and creates space to hold the experimental, the strange, and the deviant.

However, despite a couple of nods to the current political climate, this isn’t a show that takes itself too seriously. Joe Black is interested in the decadence, style and attitude of the Weimar Republic, rather than the politics that circulated around it. The audience are here to have a good time and indeed they do – we were a raucous, boozy crowd which Mr Black could cater to perfectly.

Resplendent in a purple feathered turban, Black’s vampy persona is a beguiling mix of 30’s Berlin glamour and comically-sinister Disney villain. Meet Me At The Eldorado at times feels like someone scrolling manically through a playlist which includes Dietrich, Cruella De Vil, Shirley Bassey, Eartha Kitt (specifically as Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove), Zsa Zsa Gabor and Noel Coward. Covers, interpolations and original songs were performed by Black with a deliciously malevolent energy, while the performatively hapless (and extremely talented) Friedrich Hollandaise accompanied on piano.

At times the show appeared too loosely strung together, with some of the transitions between numbers feeling jagged, yet Black’s personality carried us along. My personal highlight was an instructional section on burlesque, in which we were taught that all the best burlesque dances end with a routine designed to repel attacking bees. It was a hilarious piece of physical theatre, camp and observant, and delivered with finesse.

We all need somewhere to escape to, so if the Eldorado ever materialises near you I strongly recommend paying Joe Black a visit. Fingers crossed for those attacking bees.  

Reviews by Catherine O'Sullivan

Brighton Spiegeltent

Joe Black: Meet Me At The Eldorado

★★★★
Rialto Theatre

Cinebra: A History Of Horror

★★★★
Sweet St Andrew's

I Will Carry You Over Hard Times

★★★★
The Warren: Studio 3

Hurricane Michael

★★★
Brighton Spiegeltent: Bosco

Help! I Think I Might Be Fabulous

★★★★★
Old Police Cells Museum

The Brighton Killers

★★★

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 £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Notorious cabaret reprobate Joe Black evokes the spirit of the infamous 1920s Berlin nightclub The Eldorado. Abandon your troubles at the door and allow yourself to slip out of realities trials and tribulations. With new original songs and stories alongside tributes to more recognisable artists, You're invited to an evening of fun, filth and frivolity that pays homage to the decadent Weimar Berlin nightlife. Joe Black blurs the line between utterly sinister and completely delightful. Irreverent, comical and devilishly charming. Come down to the cabaret. Here it is right.

Most Popular See More

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets