Last Friday, I was lucky enough to be invited to perform at The Black Cat Cabaret at the Cafe de Paris in Leicester Square. The C de P is one of my favourite London venues and it is based on the design of the decadent first class dining room on the Titanic. Over the years, many of my idols have sung there including Cole Porter, Marlene Dietrich and Noel Coward and you can feel the history oozing from the velvet covered walls, at least I think it was history, it might have been something entirely different.With the stage now back in it’s original position underneath the grand double staircase, the atmosphere is better than ever.
The Black Cat Cabaret is the brainchild of the divine Vicky Butterfly, Dusty Limits and David Harris, formerly of the Boom Boom Club and their absinthe-soaked touch is apparent through every seam of this fabulous cabaret. I had the chance to chat with Mr Limits about the evolution of the The Black Cat and he told me “David came up with the name and in discussion, largely drawing on Vicky’s encyclopaedic knowledge, we came up with a rough idea of what kind of show we wanted it to be; something a bit timeless and magical and evocative of the past without being a museum piece. We want to take the audience into another world to a degree, so we avoid things that are too topical.”
It isn’t often that I get to dust off the operetta and sing it to a cabaret audience, but it is an experience I absolutely relish. On this occasion I sang my non-burlesque version Olympia’s Doll Song from the Tales of Hoffmann to a wonderfully warmed up audience. Their response was very favourable and I had such fun. It’s wonderful when a song which is less mainstream evokes such a positive response from a potentially uninitiated audience. If only I could sing Poulenc & Debussy all the time to such acclaim.
The other acts on the night were all glorious, from the living art work and the artistic stylist of the evening, Vicky Butterfly, the saucy Cabaret Rouge ladies to the marvellous Jess Love and Missy Macabre too but the night really belongs to it’s host, the marvellously louche and gin-soaked Dusty Limits. He really is the compere beyond compare. The men want him, and the women want to be him – he’s like a consumptive Dionysis, a demi-mondaine of the highest degree and being this, he is the very essence of Montmartre, reborn en Angleterre. In passing, I asked Dusty what the future holds for this inky feline and he told me that “the next big step is to make the show seasonal, so instead of one-month runs, we’ll have a 13-week run with a fairly stable cast, so we’ll have an Autumn season starting in September.” What a brave new step for London cabaret, to make a show that is more akin to the Vegas shows like Absinthe or the Australian La Clique, Dusty agreed, “we’re excited about this because it gives us a chance to shape something really theatrical, which is a lot more difficult when you’re changing the show every four weeks”. Bravo, for this bold move, I feel it is a perfect move for the London Cabaret Scene.
Anyway, back to me! I wore my newest costume, although it is actually made up of various bits and pieces that I have found here and there. The bodice used to be a Queen of the Night costume, but with a mini-tutu and a tricorn it has a certain Parisian circus feel. It has the most fabulous vintage jet beading on the front.
I had the most marvellous evening and I’m lucky enough to be appearing there throughout June. So if you find yourself near Piccadilly and at a loose end, come along to the Black Cat. I must warn you, it is sold out most evenings so do buy your tickets in advance and I have popped a link here.
Maybe see you there?