Titty Bar Ha Ha

Some good friends snubbed the opportunity to see this with me: I was made to see my first cabaret all alone. I must have looked very odd. Luckily it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had, so all bones to pick have been forgotten.

Titty Bar Ha Ha is a clandestine 1940s nightclub, owned by recent divorcees Hope and Gloria who, after being mistreated by their menfolk, have turned to life of gin, sex and suggestion – and we are invited to join the fun.

And fun it is. Relentless, rollicking fun which makes an hour seem like the spin of a roulette wheel. The show begins with a cleverly written and powerfully sung invitation to join the party, to ‘vajazzle your bits’ and embrace the atmosphere of a place dedicated to freedom and communal naughtiness.

There is some audience involvement, perhaps an oh-so-innocent game of ‘spit or swallow’. I’ll leave you to guess what that might involve. It’s the funniest thing you’ll see for a while. The games involving the audience are the real joy of an event like this; Hope and Gloria are so charming and self-aware that even the most po-faced of punters seems to come alive under their direction. Watching a middle-aged man ‘floss’ himself with a satin glove is one of the finest acts of self-fulfilment I’ve ever seen. How often is it that you want to be onstage yourself at shows like this? Trust me, after ten minutes you’ll want to down your drink and don any costume you can in order to become part of the act. It really is that infectious and inclusive.

Cabaret is a special thing. Many people seem to think it’s just mindless booty-flashing and filth. But whilst there’s plenty of that, Titty Bar Ha Ha is shot through with an intelligence that its subject matter belies. The lyrics are extremely well crafted and delivered and Hope and Gloria’s off-the-cuff interactions are always hilarious. This is an exceptionally well-realised show that will bring joy to both experienced cabaret goers and those innocent to the delights of such a fun and fascinating way of seeing through the night.

Reviews by James Macnamara

Zoo

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★★★★
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★★
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★★★★
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★★★
C venues - C nova

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★★★★
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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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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.
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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.
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Performances

The Blurb

1943. War, smut, sex, grime. As the bombs fall join your hosts Hope and Gloria for a rowdy, raunchy, and positively ridiculous show of high-end filth. ****1/2. Welcome to Club Titty Bar Ha Ha.

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