By Christian Rose-Day.
Check out what special offers The Brickhouse has at the moment, by clicking this link, or alternatively, just book right now using the calendar below.
It started with Sweet Dreams, the classic 80s Eurythmics’ tune, and ended with fire. The compere, Lady Beau Peep, sang out, interrupting the food order we were trying to make. It was our own fault really. We had arrived late.
Lady Beau Peep’s League of the Extraordinary - who are only in town for a 5-week residency, so be quick - were going to punish our tardiness. Their task was to distract us from matters of food & wine with song, dance, magic and titillation. In the immediacy, we were concerned that Lady Beau Peep’s boobs were actually trying to free themselves from her body. Astonishing.
This was dinner and a show at The Brickhouse on east London’s Brick Lane. We barely made it in time for the first act. Hence bellowing our order for a bottle of the Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc El Otro 2009 from Chile over the top of Lady Beau Peep’s klaxon, and into the ear of our poor waiter. The majority of the gathered crowd, though - a mixture of an all-girl birthday party on the top tier, a few hen parties (one in the private balcony room) and mixed couples on the middle floor, and a bass-heavy man zone up close to the stage on the ground floor - were well on to their just desserts before Luna Rosa (below) took to the stage. Impressive.
According to Lady Beau Peep, Luna Rosa was apparently going to tell us a tragic tale. Luna had the perfect figure: tall, lean, curvaceous and athletic. Her red hair and vibrant tattoos gave her an anarchistic Jessica Rabbit appeal, and the slow removal of her clothing certainly made her animated. For me, there was no tragic tale, just stripping with A levels. Sensational.
The crisp wine arrived full of apple aromas, tropical fruits and the promise of an enjoyable evening. Noteworthy.
As Kiki Lovechild and his FURlesque sidekick Jessica Blue (above) began the second installment on stage, our starters arrived: a dreadful (what tasted like) canned soup (that could not be finished) and an undistinguished chicory salad that had been meticulously constructed (with a foundation of stilton cheese) rather than tossed. Luckily, Kiki’s risible state of forced undress was distracting enough to keep the smiles from leaving our faces. Memorable.
Equally, the funny French ditty from songstress Vicious Delicious (above) kept our gaze fixed until the first interval. Tremendous.
Act Two, overall, was unusual. It began with an error: the mini pink bollock of mid-course peach & rose wine sorbet which was beyond sweet and should’ve been mint or green tea flavoured instead. The burlesque ballet of Bouncy Hunter and the peculiar antics of the cream-wielding Vivid Angel did little to help matters, especially when Vivid Angel pulled tinsel from her crotch. The act was saved, though, by the gagged Kiki Lovechild (below) whose second turn on stage had the audience asking, “How the fuck did he do that?” Astounding.
By this stage the crowd participation levels were worryingly high. In fact, were it not for the fact that our mains had arrived, I fear we may have ended up on stage. Late ordering is a godsend, after all. No such luck for the gathered crowd of bride hens and birthday girls, many of whom were being fully cajoled into all manner of embarrassing public acts. Unforgettable.
The third and final act was a success. The organic hollandaise & saffron salmon with accoutrements was plentiful, hearty and satisfying. The encouraging developments in cuisine was mirrored on stage as a definable best-till-last approach was evident. The last three cabaret performers were easily the most engaging. Outstanding.
Marcos The Marvelous, a lithe Freddie Mercury returning from the grave, swung, span, hung and hurled his considerable six pack, and all the parts thus connected, throughout The Brickhouse space, unflinching in the knowledge that one such trapeze artist had fallen from the top tier, without a safety net, during her act last year. Incredible.
And then God created Betty D'light (below). Her sexy burlesque performance was, for me, the star of the show. No, it WAS the show. My jaw actually hit the table. Her enthralling mix of tip toe ballet, latex Gothery, partial nudity (OK, she was practically naked), and unfaltering fluidity of movement was totally captivating and put my mind as far from dessert as humanly possibly (only momentarily, though). It helped that she was arrestingly attractive and endowed with.....well, see for yourself. Remarkable.
So, how do you top that? How does one outshine something so piercingly bright? With fire, of course. The Flame Haired Fire Cracker (below), part sheet-metal cowgirl, part Angelina Jolie double, confidently took to the stage with a gob full of paraffin and a crotch armed with titanium pants. The effect? Phenomenal.
And then The League of the Extraordinary turned quickly into The Guild of Very Ordinary as I was left tucking into what appeared, in the dim disco ball-fractured light of a post-cabaret Brickhouse orgy, to be a strip of tree bark topped with an egg yolk and pancetta, but was allegedly a pear and almond tart. Clearly, the show was over.
The Brickhouse is a great venue. It has bags of character. Unfortunately the food pales in comparison with the entertainment. There are various offers that can be booked at The Brickhouse but it’s probably worth going for the most expensive option so that you gain more choice on the menu. It isn’t all bad and it’s still a great night out; just don’t order the soup.
Looking for further burlesque and cabaret inspiration? Check out the Best Burlesque Bars and Clubs in London