Cafe de Paris: The Black Cat Cabaret


 Reach midnight in Paris…

The first time I saw a cabaret burlesque show, it was an absolute disaster.

In a dingy, underground London hovel which had promised to be ‘seductively glamorous’, I sat and ate luke-warm crab paste whilst watching half-dressed dancers stumble about the stage, all laddered tights and ripped corsets, wondering who the hell had thought it a good idea to serve fishy puree at a strip show, anyway. It leaned more towards the direction of ‘tits up’ as opposed to ‘titillating’ and left me with a sour taste in my mouth regarding future burlesque invitations. Well, more seafood than sour taste, actually.

So when I was invited to attend The Black Cat Cabaret show recently, I was very aware that they’d have a lot of work to do regarding wiping ‘crabgate’ from my memory.

The Black Cats certainly lured me in with their performance location, somewhere I’ve wanted to visit since moving to London: Cafe de Paris.

Exiting Leicester Square station with my plus one, we shimmied our way through the relentless excitement of hustle and bustle which this area boasts; hoards of people, loud music, screeching traffic and blurs of neon lights.

We found the dimly-lit doorway of Cafe de Paris, with its domed awning, red carpets and VIP ropes, beyond which the hysteria of London deminished.

Cafe de Paris is utterly charming in its luxe-boutique, glamorous ways. It evoked memories of an identical ‘Polly Pocket’ miniature theatre I had as a child with chandeliers, columns, curved flights of stairs and drapery. In truth, I’d already fallen in love with the evening before the evening actually begun. But then it did begin, as the lights went down, the rippling chatter hushed and magic descended upon the entire place like a cloud.

I was utterly blown away by the Black Cat Cabaret show. I spent most of the show with my jaw dropped open, dumbfounded by the standard of performance and showmanship. The word ‘phenomenal’ just about does it justice, given that I applauded my palms raw, cheered my throat hoarse and dried my un-blinked, transfixed, wide-eyes out. It was incredibly varied, flawlessly performed and executed with immeasurable panache.

Best of all, was the content of the acts. Every routine was different from the last but most notably, each was exceptionally original. I found myself pondering how on earth they’d come up with that idea, on countless occasions throughout the show as I looked on, awe-inspired and hypnotised. What’s more, each scene delivered to the highest possible standards; the funny bits were tear-jerkingly hilarious, the skilled bits were unbelievably impressive and every performer taking part seemed to possess enough skill and talent to serve an army.

A few glasses of wine later, having been well and truly wooed and won-over, I left Paris and returned to my flat still going through some of the acts in my head. The fact that I was still re-living memorable parts of the night was testament as to how well-worth seeing this show really is. As I hummed one of the show tunes and danced through my door, I headed straight to my wardrobe and yanked out a pair of fishnet tights. Wobbling around and drunkenly pulling them on, I danced around my room for the rest of the night and I’m happy to report that there were no memories of dodgy seafood or badly performed burlesque anywhere.


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