By Christian Rose-Day.
Kitty Bang Bang has just removed every item of her clothing in double quick time and is now pouring a bottle of Champagne down her naked back and over her perfect arse. Can I get a ‘whoop whoop’?!
Prior to her, Pippa The Ripper (pictured above) displayed her incredible dexterity and level of concentration whilst spinning more Hula Hoops than I can count in more directions than I care to mention.
And prior to her, ballerina Vicky Butterfly (pictured below) had also de-robed, twirling a length of ribbon with one hand and doing something very inventive with confetti in the other.
So why am I not completely satisfied? I love burlesque. It’s an acceptable form of striptease, devoid of all seediness, at which men and women sit agog, side by side, quietly lusting after the temptresses before them with their own private seediness.
I’ll tell you why I’m not entirely in the realms of nirvana (and this has nothing to do getting equally naked with the aforementioned temptresses): because cabaret cuisine never seems to live up to nipple tassles and frilly knickers. The comestible perv never seems to measure up to the visual perv.
Case in point at the West End’s Cafe de Paris on a Friday evening for a front table dining experience at La Rêve, the weekly cabaret showcase. In addition to the delightful talents of the ladies mentioned above, the tap-drum duo, Up & Over It offer a lesson in timing and ingenuity, Jo Foley shows what hours of practice on a suspended aerial ring can do for an audience, and charismatic compere, Dusty Limits (pictured below), steals the show with his witty comedy and well-trained singing voice. And yet, despite these remarkable performances, the acts that appear from the kitchen are predictably standard.
Every vegetarian's worst nightmare: an entree of goats cheese followed by, you guessed it, wild mushroom risotto for a main. Could they appease the common Englishman any easier? Has Harvester now opened up in Leicester Square? I am not vegetarian so instead choose the boneless Tamworth pork rib to start which, although delicious, arrives cold.
For the main, I get lucky with the Magret duck breast and steamed Bok Choi because everyone else on our communal, and very sociable, table has opted for the free range (happy) chicken breast or the rib eye steak; the former apparently too dry and the latter too sinewy. Overall, a below par production from the kitchen. Fair on stage: 1, fare on plate; nil.
This, I have found, is an occurrence that happens often at gatherings such as these. At Crazy Bear, the garlic tiger prawns with black pepper were no match for the feathered majesty of Bouncy Hunter’s burlesque act. At Volupte, the afternoon tea and sandwiches paled in comparison to the sovereignly sexy, and hilarious, Ginger Blush (the best burlesque act I’ve ever seen). Whilst at east London’s Brickhouse, the (alleged) pear and almond tart was by no means as compelling as the Gothic prowess displayed by Betty D'light.
Don’t get me wrong, cabaret cuisine is far from horrid; but it never quite lives up to the expectation that sexy lace and tight corsets can deliver. I’d love to be proven otherwise.
If you do choose to visit the La Rêve at Cafe de Paris on Friday night - and I encourage you to do so - I offer you these meagre hints and tips:
- If you are going to eat, just remember, you cant go wrong with meringue and berries.
- Don’t pick the 10 of Hearts. I did. I was duped by the girl in the bright red wig. How did it happen?
- After the show, take advantage of the VIP room because you can meet all the acts you’ve just been privy to.
- Leave the VIP room after a maximum of 1 hour otherwise you’ll soon be trapped by teenagers determined to turn the Cafe de Paris into a provincial disco after the tables have been cleared away to expose a dancefloor.
Image courtesy of Flickr user firstname.lastname@example.org