Live From The Phoenix Flat
  • By Pete Shaw
  • |
  • 21st Mar 2020
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Tonight I figured out how to beam a Facebook video to my TV so I could watch – amongst other things – a burlesque performer do a striptease on a unicycle. The event was The Phoenix Arts Club’s reaction to all this self-isolation called Live From The Phoenix Flat. And it’s brilliant.

The antidote we need for the doom and gloom of a shut-in pandemic

Like the turns at the physical club on Charing Cross Road, the line up changes nightly, but tonight to kick this experiment off, it was hosted by the larger-than-life Myra DuBois assisted by chanteuse Sooz Kempner and Michael Webborn on the piano streaming from a basement flat somewhere in Bloomsbury via Facebook’s live video platform.

DuBois holds this together remarkably well given it’s a first outing (in-ing?) for this brave new apocalypse. Quips about social distancing and the general human predicament at the moment are liberally splattered between songs from DuBois and Kempner plus the aforementioned novelty of Velma Von Bon Bon removing several layers of clobber to the tune of YMCA on that unicycle.

It’s a little anarchic, with crew crossing the set to make tea in the kitchen and on-screen graphics being resized before your eyes, but they’ve brought in a proper sound system and lighting set up to give this modest lounge in a London flat a real cabaret vibe. It’s absolutely the antidote we need for the doom and gloom of a shut-in pandemic and we’re definitely going to need more of as the weeks (months?) drag on.

Viewers can optionally tip the artists, and I encourage you to do so in this new economic reality of our entertainers unsure of the next paycheck. It was encouraging to hear the website collecting tips crashed so often with the volume of people trying to donate. (Apparently those technical problems will be addressed as soon as possible).

Live From The Phoenix Flat is planned to broadcast Saturdays (The Saturday Supershow LIVE) and Sundays (A Night In Soho) from 8.30pm ‘til 10.30pm from The Phoenix Arts Club’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/phoenixartsclub.

Reviews by Pete Shaw

Good Grief

★★★★
The Phoenix Arts Club Facebook Live Page

Live From The Phoenix Flat

★★★★★
Crescent - The Vaults

Over My Dad's Body

★★★★
Greenwich Theatre

Sleeping Beauty

★★★★★
Christmas in Leicester Square

La Clique

★★★★★

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

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The Blurb

Join an ever-changing line up of cabaret and variety on Saturday and Sunday nights live-streamed from a basement flat in Bloomsbury presented by The Phoenix Arts Club. The perfect antidote to self-isolation.

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