Bombay Velvet Live at the London Cabaret ClubCultureTheatre
The grand tradition of cabaret in London dates back over 100 years to Heddon Street’s infamous Cave of the Golden Calf. After falling from favour for a period in the late 20th century, recent trends toward vintage fashions and burlesque have brought the format back with a bang. At the forefront of this revival, The London Cabaret Club has entertained audiences at a series of pop-up shows around the capital for the past three years, and has recently moved to an opulent new home at the iconic Bloomsbury Ballroom.
The venue and the décor oozes class, and being led to one’s table by the immaculately turned-out hosting staff is like taking a step back in time to an altogether more glamorous age.
It may reflect the festive nature of tonight’s one-off Diwali theme, but the floor show itself, on this occasion at least, could be said to lack variety. Bollywood ensemble dance numbers set to modern bhangra hits are the order of the day, and though the closely choreographed routines and glittery costumes are a spectacle, they soon become rather samey. The singular vocal performance is of an R’n’B song that engenders the same high-tempo contemporary night club energy, whereas a classic torchlight croon may have made for a welcome change of pace and suited the setting better. Some variation, and the undoubted highlights of the display, come via the technical mastery of an impossibly lithe acrobatic duo, and some dizzyingly athletic breakdancing from dance collective OK Flex.
With a feast for the eyes well in order, culinary entertainment comes by way of a set three-course menu, built around the concept of “British tapas”. In contrast to the onstage line-up, based on tonight’s showing, it’s perhaps a little too eclectic for its own good. The main course, partnering fenugreek marinated lamb with a chip shop battered fish (which washed its delicate aromatic flavour away on a river of grease), best embodied a general lack of balance. A few mistakes in delivery were evident during our visit too, with at least one listed accompaniment from each course failing to make it through the smoke to our table (without the promised tartare sauce, that fish was desperately dry).
As important as the food in the context of cabaret, the cocktail menu is an unqualified triumph. Classic favourites sit alongside innovative bespoke creations to tantalise the palate, with the Signature Sympathy for the Devil (a vodka, red fruit, and chilli infusion served with a decadent champagne shot) a sure-fire winner.
A few niggling issues aside, everything – be it on the stage, or on your plate – is presented to a very high standard at London Cabaret Club, suggesting that with just a few tweaks to the finer details, excellence is well within reach.
Bombay Velvet was on for one night only at the Bloomsbury Ballroom.
For further information about London Cabaret Club and future events visit here.
Watch a promotional video for The London Cabaret Club here: