By David Derby.
Burlesque seems to have several meanings and interpretations within two broad [ahem] camps: (i) tasteful, stylish disrobements and (ii) satirical and/or fey entertainments. Wam Bam celebrated its 4th birthday in style on Saturday at Cafe de Paris in Piccadilly Circus, delivering everything the tin promised across the whole spectrum before the fireworks went off and the champagne was sprayed: Lady Alex compered with panache and provided some of the more biting satire, giving new meaning to the notion of strap-on during her faux-homage to Osama BL; Shirley & Shirley took their lesbian sensibilities and well-rehearsed routines to dark places; Bunny Galore’s transvestite turns and Banbury Cross’s strips provided anchoring reference points; Chris Cox did not miss an opportunity to use his name in the spirit of the genre as he worked some blandish tricks; and there was more conventional stand-up from Jack Whitehall (“straight from the telly,” Lady Alex assured us); but the two star acts of the show were the resident Cabaret Rouge, who showed both grace and humour throughout their non-ironic burlesques of the disrobing kind, and Scales of the Unexpected whose intricate close-harmony routines of, first, greatest hits and, in the second half, visual puns brought the biggest applause of the evening - justifiably so.
Give or take bouts of expletives, there’s actually something of a family atmosphere at Wam Bam. Lady Alex is a genuinely caring-sharing sort of hostess who just wants everyone to have a good time. The Cafe de Paris club has momentum and, with the continuing supply of interesting new acts, Lady Alex has plenty of choice to ensure the shows remain fresh and eclectic.
Shows continue at the wonderful Cafe de Paris every Saturday at 8pm for the foreseeable future.