Vive Le Cabaret is a variety performance with a variety of class. Judging the show as a whole is difficult, because it is splintered into different acts, ranging from the brilliant to the embarrassing. As such, it seems only fair to discuss them individually.

The show was glued together by MC Desmond O’Connor, supposedly the ‘King of Cabaret’. His stage presence was appropriately pantomimic, but often crude. He filled the intervals with personal ditties such as ‘Cheap Shite White Wine’, but tonight's efforts rarely struck a chord with the audience. Altogether, O’Connor was upstaged by several of the acts.

East End Cabaret - a duo consisting of classic French seductress Bernadette Byrne and her personal freak Victor Victoria - topped the evening and arguably the pecking order. Their performance was refined, professional, and frankly hilarious. Their song ‘Danger Wank’ - an incitement to public indecency - will be in my head for days.

Half-comedian and half-magician Paul Dabek was also a highlight, and received the most enthusiastic applause during the curtain call. His humour was a bit too familiar at times - as, perhaps, was his magic - but he charmed the audience during his finale with a masterful finger puppet show played to the ‘Circle of Life’.

Dusty Limits was the third jewel in the cabaret crown, master of the cutting and camp persona. His first number - ‘Bored’, a pastiche of Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’ - was his best received, and temporarily undercut any faith you might have in your current relationship.

Unfortunately, the remainder of the acts were a mixture of the clichéd, the forgettable, and the downright poor. Magician Doug Segal lost the audience when he was rude to one of his volunteers, breaking one of the fundamental rules of showmanship. Meanwhile, Adriano Fettucini - a.k.a. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ - bemused the audience with an uncomfortable rendition of a kilted drunkard on a tricycle.

Mr B. The Gentleman Rhymer was one of the most famed performers, but his act was disappointing, relying too heavily upon a facile contrast between his upper-class persona and his imported ‘urban beats’. The lyrics were often too fast for the audience to catch, and not that impressive when they were. Altogether, one suspects that Mr B. has the shelf-life of the subculture he is associated with.

Rating a show such as this is difficult because you don’t want to drag the bad shows up nor the good shows down - which inevitably you do by deriving some sort of average. As such, the score should not be interpreted as reflecting any of the individual performers, but rather as a summation.

Reviews by Joshua Feldman

Marlborough Theatre

The Room in the Elephant

★★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Both Worlds

★★★★
The Warren: Main House

Animal Farm

★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Brainchild

★★★
The Warren: Theatre Box

Everything That's Wrong with the Universe

★★★★
The Dukebox Theatre

All Change

★★★

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

Award-winning show that has thrilled UK audiences. A lavish feast of comedy, cabaret and all-round entertainment. Great British variety and dazzling international talent: a five-star festival in itself!

Most Popular See More

Blithe Spirit

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets