The Revolution Will Be Sexual

From the moment the Sally Bowles-esque Bernadette Byrne and creepy Lautrecian cross-dresser Victor Victoria hit the tiny stage, I had four questions in mind. Would they be funny? Would they be musical? Why aren’t there props? And where can I get a feather-shoulderpadded sequined pantsuit like Bernadette’s?

‘Ve vill become intimate, ya?’ Bernadette was quick to inform us, in her light, German-laced soprano that held up throughout the hour-long performance. Eagerly hoping that the tables would somehow hide us, we were ambivalent about this ‘intimacy’. It is well known that if you visit a comedy performance you should avoid the front row, particularly if you happen to be American (like me), an IT consultant or with a partner who is considerably better looking than you. East End Cabaret was no exception, with the joke, most of the time, on the men. To warm us up, Bernie and Victy started with a jazz performance of Right Said Fred’s ‘I’m Too Sexy’ before launching into original oeuvre ‘Ping Pong’, about amazing vaginal talents and the disappointment that results from realising you don’t have any. Things really kicked off when Bernadette’s running gag about a bendy yogi turned into a nightmare for one elderly gentleman, who looked as though he mistook the dark innards of the Komedia for a working men’s club. Armed with a ukulele, Bernadette serenaded said gentleman while Victy plonked her half tutued, half trousered behind on some unsuspecting, but not unwelcoming man, complete with musical saw.

At the heart of the show shines two terrifically talented women; they play their material with conviction, and the material itself is the truthful kind of funny. It’s a situation we’ve all been in, the situation we could imagine not wanting to be in, mixed in with a bit of the absurd, as in ‘It Was Still Hard’, a song about rigor mortis in an unfortunately intimate spot. Though the ‘F’ word was never uttered (feminism, that is), it runs through the core of the show. An improvised rap number (at my behest) poked fun at one stage volunteer through his own ripostes – turns out the barman, who seemed to enjoy the limelight, follows a particular route to a lady’s heart – Nando’s, spanking and promises of doggy-style.

The show stalled a bit during ‘Camel Toe’, a phenomenon most of us are probably familiar with, but haven’t quite figured out how to publicly laugh at. Victy’s creepy, homicidal crush on Bernadette is ripe for laughs, but also threads a touching, unrequited queer love story throughout the performance. Of the two, Victy veers between sharp and weird, Cameron to Bernadette’s much cooler, happy-go-lucky Ferris. The result is a complimentary partnership – good songs, well-played and a clever rejoinder to the often misogynist portrayals of women in pop culture. How nice to find a show that doesn’t resort to the trope of ‘headaches’ in the bedroom for comedy – in fact, if you find yourself there with Bernadette or Victor Victoria, prepare for a raucous ride.

Reviews by Amy Holtz

Laughing Horse @ The Quadrant

Feminism for Chaps

★★★★
Brighton Spiegeltent

An Evening of Americana Music

★★★
Komedia - Main Space

Red Bastard

★★★★
Marlborough Theatre

Thief by Liam Rudden

★★★★
Laughing Horse @ Caroline of Brunswick

Abigoliah Schamaun is Working on It

★★★
The Warren: Main House

The Bloody Ballad

★★★★

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

The Blurb

Following a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe,this debauched duo will shock,amuse and enlighten with their critically-acclaimed cabaret show. 'The queens of musical smut' - TimeOut

Most Popular See More

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Heathers The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Only Fools and Horses - The Musical

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets