The Ladyboys of Bangkok is all hyped up. Everyone I’ve talked to about the show raves about the performers, the costumes, the razzmatazz - it seems no one has a bad word to say about it. Perhaps that’s why I was expecting to see something truly spectacular. All day I was preparing myself for the best show I’d ever seen and was full of eager anticipation as I took my seat inside the smoky, colourful Sabai Pavilion. But was it as amazing as I had expected it to be? Sadly not.
The performers themselves are beautiful. They’re stunning to look at and really do take your breath away.
The performers themselves are beautiful. They’re stunning to look at and really do take your breath away. But their miming and dancing talents are not half as mesmerising as their appearance. After a while, the novelty of watching someone miming along to a disco number while others dance around in the background wore off. But essentially this is what the show is - beautiful people miming and dancing in fabulous outfits. And while the majority of the performers put their all into their routines, others seemed to lack enthusiasm and expression, creating a slightly lacklustre event overall.
The show itself is clearly well rehearsed - all the dancers were in time and the miming was in sync, although at times it was hard to understand the dialogue over the backing music. It was easy to get drawn into the sparkle and glamour and some numbers were executed perfectly. There was a whole sequence of ‘movie’ songs and some were even better than the original film scene. However, some numbers wouldn’t have been out of place at a pantomime.
There were points in the show that were truly fantastic, striking the right balance between comedy, cabaret and cheese. The sense of humour is smutty, at points crossing the line to crude but on the whole the jokes were done with the right mix of vulgarity and wit, eliciting cheers and whoops from the audience. Personally I felt that while some lines were worthy of a half-hearted giggle; others were just too cringey to warrant a laugh.
An effort was made to interact with the audience, getting people up on stage and including them in the acts. However it seemed that if they picked you out there was no escape, so if you’re shy (and don’t want your top taken off on stage) then don’t sit front and centre!
A visual treat which is perfect for anyone wanting some wonderfully camp, potentially overpriced, cabaret fun - but I won’t be hurrying back anytime soon.