Monday, 16 December 2013

Proud Cabaret

Saturday night in Brighton saw us glammed up and out on the town at Brighton's Proud Cabaret for a night of 1920's style decadence, surrounded by burlesque entertainers, saucy waitresses with feather headdresses, circus acts and cocktails.
Proud is located in the old Hanbury Ballroom (the old Sassoon Mausoleum, so we were basically hanging out in a graveyard for the evening) and looks completely innocuous from the outside.  The only sign of what is to come is the understated sign on the wall.
Inside though is an entirely different matter.  The dance floor starts off packed with intimate tables filled with couples, friends, hen nights and work dos.  Above your head is the most extravagant ceiling with a glass ball chandelier.  The entire interior is intended to be reminiscent of the supper clubs of the 1920's and 1930's.
You don't come here for the interior, decadent though it may be.  You come here for the show.  After you are seated at your table the waitresses come to take your drinks order, feathered head bobbing gracefully and soon returns with cocktails.
As the food is served (which was OK but not outstanding and to be honest it is so dark inside that you can't see the food anyway!) the hostess makes her entrance and is truly a formidable presence to be reckoned with.  This is a woman who is certainly not afraid to use each and every one of her natural gifts and talents to entertain the audience.  Her wit is razor sharp and cutting and provides the perfect foil to a crowd that has a tendency to get a little rowdy and raucous. 
Various unsuspecting men are preyed upon during the course of the night and made the butt of her  jokes.  Most of them return the banter with good grace, high on dutch courage and the exhilaration that the environment offers.  She is not just there to exchange clever words with the audience though, she is a performer in her own right and sings and struts around the stage, performing a mixture of Christmas songs and modern classics.
She also introduces the performers, each one with their own unique routine.

Burlesque is well established art form intended to be playful, coquettish and full of humour.  It is incredibly empowering for the women who perform, is recognised as a form of body acceptance and celebration of the female form in every variety and attracts as many female audience members as it does male.  Routines can involve balloons, ribbons, feather fans and all sorts of other accessories.  Costumes are lavish and often tailor made for the individual artist.  Performances do involve an element of strip tease but the artists never reveal everything.
The women exude confidence and personality and each has a very different 'flavour' to their performance.

There were three performers in total although one of the women moved so quickly the photos of her are nothing but a blur! Each girl performed twice with full costume changes between.

There was the routine where the artist unwrapped herself like a Christmas present and her second routine as a drum majorette*. 
Then there was Chi Chi Revolver, a woman born and raised in the circus and a marvel with a hula-hoop (she holds a world record which involved hula-hooping upside down).
She performs dance routines, spins L.E.D hoops around herself and even manages a strip tease whilst keeping a hoop in motion around her body.  Her finale involves 40 hoops spinning constantly.
The act is jaw dropping and I would now quite like a hula hoop in my Christmas stocking please Santa!
After the show everyone is invited onto the stage to do the Time Warp with the wait staff.  The dance floor is cleared of tables and chairs, the lights dim, the DJ comes onto the stage and the dance hall turns into a nightclub.  The music mix was odd to say the least with very little continuity or flow but by this stage the audience was so energised and excited by the night of entertainment that they have already had that they just didn't care.

The floor was packed, the bar was buzzing and we eventually slipped away just after midnight with weary feet to head back to the hotel.  As an experience, the Proud Cabaret Club is certainly one to be remembered!
* Photo's were allowed on this night and all photo's pictured are similar to ones available on the performers own websites. 

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