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

Government Inspector

★★★★
Stand in the Square

Is Your Marmite Watching You?

★★
The Jazz Bar

Jazz Rite of Spring

★★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Rachel Stubbings: Doing It for Himself

★★★
C venues - C nova

Cabaret Nova

★★★★
The Edinburgh Academy

West Side Story

★★★★★

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.