Reviewer: Craig Hepworth
The Public Reviews Rating:
It’s this time of year when the acts from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival try out their shows on a regional audience. Vive Le Cabaret returns to The Lowry for the second time since its award winning debut in 2010 and whilst the individual performers are all heading to their own shows at the fringe, in this cabaret format the show is only partly successful.
Hearing the word cabaret you expect to be thrilled, enchanted and swept up in the enticing performances, and though this one sometimes hits the mark it also at times falls short of living up to its cabaret roots.
Let’s start with the positives, guiding us through the evening is compere extraordinaire Des O’Connor (not that Des O’Connor), with his witty audience repartee and biting resemblance to the Emcee from the musical Cabaret he had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand with his fast talking banter and ukulele playing.
Winner of the London Burlesque Awards Kiki Kaboom provided the titillating burlesque that hilariously saw her switch from Judy Garland to aggressive street scally interacting with the terrified but thrilled audience and got the show off to a rousing start.
The thought of watching a juggler is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine but Mat Ricardo bucked the trend with his hilarious mix of comedy and juggling, and the award winning East End Cabaret provided music and laughs through a variety of adult themed comedy songs.
However the stand out of the night was Myra Dubois, a drag performer with an attitude who’s decided to try her hand at children’s entertainment (going under the name Auntie Myra so as not to be thought of as the other famous Myra). The hilarious set included some of the worst magic tricks and a ventriloquist dummy who couldn’t speak, needless to say Myra’s future as a children’s entertainer may be limited but on a cabaret circuit is destined to be a real scream.
With most performers doing a set in each act it was sad to see that Myra didn’t return for act two, with such a crowd pleaser it almost proved a fatal flaw in what could have been a thrilling evening.
To make matters worse, mind reader Doug Segal failed to engage with both sets and came off as a very poor man’s Derren Brown (who he oddly made a joke about), overlong and unoriginal the audience seemed to be waiting for the return of one of the other acts.
For a show with such a grand name, the production values were non-existent, the show could benefit from a bit of glitz and grime and embrace the underground cabaret roots, however even with these flaws, if you are looking for an easy going fun night out then Vive Le Cabaret may just hit the spot.
Runs until 21st July 2012
Vive Le Cabaret – The Lowry, Salford,