Life is a cabaret, old chum…
As that old Liza Minnelli song goes: “What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play. Life is a cabaret, old chum. Come to the cabaret…”
And that’s exactly where I found myself last Friday night. Having had more than enough of dry January, green vegetables and loungewear, it was high time to get back out there. Where better to make my January party debut than London Cabaret Club – complete with a ‘smart evening wear preferred’ dress code, and the promise of one hell of a show…
Unassuming from the outside (it’s tucked away on a corner of Bloomsbury Square Garden with nothing but a small entrance hall to greet you), London Cabaret Club is truly ostentatious inside. We’re immediately greeted with glasses of fizz and ushered to our table inside a very grand, art deco-style ballroom – where all dining tables and booths are centred around a dimly-lit rectangular stage. I’m pleased with our seats: close enough to be part of the action, but not so close we’re at risk of being part of the performance (my fiancé’s worst fear). That said, it’d be impossible to have a bad seat here. The table plan has clearly been carefully engineered so all eyes are on the show.
As our starter arrives (cod croquette with fennel purée), the lights go down, and the sound of the roaring ‘20s fills the room as a brigade of flapper girls sashay past us – kicking off this evening’s show: All About Gatsby. The iconic story unfolds through perfectly-choreographed dancing and songs – so mesmerising we (almost) forget about our food.
The main course, a delicate cornfed roasted chicken with sweet potato pave, hispi cabbage and red wine jus, is accompanied by tap dancing. It’s a stripped back performance – just one man and his stage – but it’s one of the evening’s show-stoppers. The sound of shoes on wood gradually gets faster as our suit-clad tap dancer performs increasingly more complicated footwork, and the whole crowd is riveted – clapping and cheering along.
Dessert arrives, and we couldn’t be happier with our chocolate torte – especially when one of the finalé acts appears: a dancer on aerial silks. He hangs from the ceiling, body contorting in a series of complicated twists and falls, as we watch on in amazement.
London Cabaret Club is the kind of place where you can really lose yourself for an hour. Once the show finishes and the last glimpse of a flapper’s string of pearls has disappeared from sight, I find myself wondering if any of that really happened. Eating a three-course dinner, sipping wine, and being front row at a live cabaret show? Perhaps that kind of escapism is exactly what we all need right now – an antidote to a cold winter, never-ending pandemic, and back to work blues.
If it’s good enough for Liza Minnelli, it’s good enough for me…
Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, WC1B 4DA (thelondoncabaretclub.com)