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The Black Cat Cabaret

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    Shifting temporarily from its regular home at the Cafe Royal, the Spiegeltent at the London Wonderground seems like a home-from-home for the short and sharp Black Cat Cabaret. The period style of the venue reflects the decadence of this homage to the cabaret noir of 1920s Montmartre, while the hoards of revellers to the Southbank Centre this summer should provide new and receptive audiences.

    Compere Dusty Limits corrals his spectators with seasoned self-assurance above the throb and whine of Michael Roulston’s evocative cabaret band. The acts may reference Offenbach, Loie Fuller and even artist Edgar Degas, but the vibe is distinctly contemporary, fusing old-world glamour with original songs, burlesque and circus-style performances.

    Aerialists Katharine and Hugo deliver a thrilling routine, spinning wildly above the audience heads, while Jo Moss provokes audible gasps as much for his muscled physique as for his mastery of the cyr wheel. Vicky Butterfly exploits the mirrored venue to great effect with a graceful illuminated butterfly dance and Lili la Scala’s operatic burlesque is both accessible and highly entertaining.

    It is expert hula-hooper Jess Love, however, with her nonchalant approach to quick-changes on stage, that perhaps captures the bawdy spirit of the genre.

    Paul Vale

    • London Wonderground, London
    • June 13-September 26, PN June 13
    • Creator: Dusty Limits
    • Design: Vicky Butterfly set and costume, Dusty Limits lighting, Andy Josephs sound
    • Musical director: Michael Roulston
    • Technical: James Turner Inman venue manager, Dave Blakemore stage manager, Penny Gaze lighting, Andy Josephs sound
    • Cast includes: Dusty Limits, Vicky Butterfly, Jess Love, Lili la Scala, Jo Moss, Katharine and Hugo
    • Producer: David Harris
    • Running time: 1hr 15mins

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