The Vaudevillains

This year Les Enfants Terribles are gracing us with a show that’s fun but is a hotchpotch of great performers, boring music, missed opportunities and laughs.

For the average punter with hankering for a late show, you could do a lot worse.

Charlie the owner of the Empire has been murdered, and on stage no less, with every performer of the club the potential perpetrators of the crime their backgrounds are examined through the medium of song. And that’s the plot, that is the entire plot with 10 minutes at the end to tie it up. But hey, who needs a plot when you’ve got songs?

Unfortunately, the music in this show is a real letdown. Mainly because it doesn't fit with the theme of the show. With the white makeup and the murder you’d expect to be treated to a heavy dose of Kurt Weill inspired toe tappers. But what we get is far too close to Webber for comfort. It’s just bland, we want to be transported to the Weimar Republic not an 80’s coma.

Each song revolves around one character's past and the revelations of what terrible secret they hide. Unfortunately, the crime is exactly the same for each reveal, so it wears a bit thin by the 3rd one. It’s a real missed opportunity to be inventive.

And that’s all you can really fault it on. It’s slick and there is plenty of nice touches throughout. The cast are good and you’ll find your attention being pulled in multiple directions. The Cerberus sisters especially, from their makeup to physicality of their arms, they really stand out.

It’s also quite funny when it wants to be. There is a fight between two mimes that is lots of fun. The ventriloquist's section had me smiling through the entire skit and would be better suited earlier in the show.

If you are a massive cabaret fan and you hoping to be treated to something new and exciting, you’ll be disappointed but it’s worth the face value of the tickets. For the average punter with hankering for a late show, you could do a lot worse.

Reviews by James W. Woe

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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.
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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.
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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.
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The Blurb

To celebrate their 15th year, Olivier-nominated Les Enfants Terribles invite you to The Empire music hall for a night you'll never forget, but tonight's show will be different. The club's owner, Charlie, has fallen victim to a murder most foul... but whodunnit? Could it be nervy knife thrower Ray the Blade, sexy Siamese Striplets, the Cerberus Sisters, deranged ventriloquist Albert Frog, macabre mime Gaston Gasteau or perhaps the mystifying magician, The Great Mephisto? Everyone's a suspect, as we discover the secrets of the weird and wonderful acts who have found themselves upon The Empire's bill.

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