This was my first close encounter with the Lady Boys; I’ve never been to Bangkok, but I’ve seen The Hangover II. That doesn’t quite make me an expert, but I’m pretty sure that the Lady Boys are much more Vegas than Bangkok. But hey, that’s showbiz!
What it may lack in originality, it makes up for in extravaganza and flamboyance.
With the Blur anthem, you know: “Girls who are boys, who like boys to be girls, who do boys like they're girls …” looping in my head, I entered the Sabai tent. I could immediately tell I was witnessing a traditional Brightonian coming of summer ceremony. Things were heating up in the lounge as the natives, young and old, were getting restless. Armed with wine buckets and Thai food trays, they were ready for showtime.
Maybe it was the Friday night late show, maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the three licensed bars, but the atmosphere at the Sabai was truly euphoric. It was like a stag/hen night with hundreds of friends that just haven’t met before. It didn’t even matter that there was no storyline and that most of the lip-synching was pretty bad, this was a Party Night.
Touring the UK since 1998, The Lady Boys of Bangkok has established itself as the country’s favourite touring cabaret show. A whole generation has grown up with it. It is a lucrative franchise, no question about it, with food, brochures, merchandise, DVDs, photo ops etc. Therefore, it compares better to West End musicals than fringe shows. What it may lack in originality, it makes up for in extravaganza and flamboyance.
So was it a happy ending for me? As a cabaret performance, it was a bit too vanilla for my taste. As a night out with the girls, why not? Sure beats watching Magic Mike for the tenth time.