Looking for an alternative night out in London? It doesn’t get more weird and wonderful than Dark Circus Party…


 Torture Garden & Bourne and Hollingsworth present… Dark Circus Party

I’d heard rave reviews about Torture Garden and had been warned that whilst their nights were breathtakingly memorable, they certainly weren’t for the faint hearted. As for the other half of this production’s partnership, well, I’ve been a fan of the Bourne and Hollingsworth gang since I first experienced their eye-wateringly strong cocktails out of teacups and jam jars.

Therefore, it’s safe to say that when I was told about Dark Circus Party -the illegitimate love child which was spawned from the sordid ‘Bourne Garden’ affair, I had extremely high expectations.

Along I went with two very open-minded plus-ones in tow; the shortlisting method for said guests went something like ‘…not a potential date, not my boss, not Grandma’.

We’d followed the fancy dress rule, of course. After ruling out wearing rubber, S&M wear and ‘nothing but a smile’, I pulled my old art college trick out of the bag, which consists of making a top out of a pair of fishnet tights. (I’ll include the instructions for this genius, albeit revealing item of clothing at the end. Especially for all the men of London. Don’t pretend you’re not tempted.)

We made our way to the Bloomsbury Ballroom using public transport -much to the shock of fellow passengers who confused fancy dress with ‘cheap London hookers’. Could be worse, I lied to myself. However, arriving at the party, we soon discovered that we were, in fact, under dressed compared to some and suddenly we relaxed, laughed off our journey and took in the spectacle.

The ballroom was fabulous, the music was infectious and the atmosphere was electric. As our somewhat-sensible-selves became spell-bound by the cocktails, the night grew weirder and darker with each sip. Naked circus performers emerged, titillating dancers (pun intended) pleased adoring crowds and the stage was adorned with cabaret singers performing hilariously entertaining numbers. Lets not forget the next-to-nude cage dancers who entertained the masses for hours on end with their sensual and somewhat questionable moves -complete with crystal covered nipple tassels.

The crowds grew more and more raucous as they were whipped into a frenzy by performers and be prepared that sometimes that whipping was quite literal. It was the absolute epitome of the ultimate party; with an incredible atmosphere and the option of talking and laughing with any stranger next to you because everyone was there to have a good time.

Whilst drinks were fairly expensive, they did what you want drinks to do; taste amazing and make everyone the most fun version of themselves. All cocktails were unique and original. All cocktails were lovingly hand mixed and poured. All cocktails were exceptionally strong.

I left Dark Circus Party having had a fabulous night. I made friends with a group of random but lovely German guys, I lapped up the high-quality entertainment and I saw more naked body parts than I did during my entire school Human Biology course. I left the night with a stomach full of premium cocktails, a head full of hilarious memories and a camera phone full of interesting photos, which grew more alternative as the night went on and which wouldn’t look out of place in a Tracey Emin exhibition.

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys weird, depraved and wild qualities to a night out, I urge you to try Dark Circus Party. However, if you’re more into nights in with a cup of tea and a film, Marley and Me never gets old; maybe stick to that. With Grandma.

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We well and truly flexed our special eye make-up skills for the occasion




 How to make a weird top out of a pair of tights…

Maybe it won’t answer the question of what to wear to the family wedding next year, but in terms of solving a fancy-dress dilemma, this age-old trick is a golden one.

Take a pair of tights. The more patterned, the better (see above).

Sorry to be crass, but… cut out the crotch. This is where your head will go. Did I mention to maybe use an unworn or fresh-from-the-tumbler pair?

Keep the hole for your head quite small, it will stretch any way as you throw crazy shapes on the dance floor.

Cut four tiny hole on the end of each foot and one on the inside of each foot for your fingers and thumbs. Unless you have less than ten after an unfortunate tin opener incident or something similar.

Put it on. Get drunk.

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