Now in its fourth year, the London Cabaret Awards has released the latest longlist of nominees.
The deliberations are done and the 2015 judging panel (Oliver Jack, Samuel Joseph, Jo King, Tas Kyprianou and Paul Vale) have made public which acts, shows and venues rocked their world over the last twelve months.
While we congratulate each and every one of the nominees, the judges’ choices generally make for some mighty interesting reading. Here, we offer our opinions on what we felt was good, bad and utterly bizarre about their selections.
Gender diversity makes a welcome return.
The current batch of judges seem to have noticed that it’s not just tassels that can dangle from a burlesque dancer.
While the 2014 longlist was wall-to-wall women, three of the latest finalists (Briefs, Phil Ingud and Pi The Mime) are in possession of a Y-chromosome, and the all-male burlesque-and-stories show Boylexe gets a deserved nod.
On the other hand, it is almost definite that the winner of the Best Host 2015 award will pick up the trophy while attired in trousers. No, this is not clairvoyance but simple maths: apart from drag king Tricity Vogue, all the nominees are male. We’re not accusing the judges of sexism but exactly how does having a front-facing groin-height zip improve a compère’s performance?
Plenty of happy shiny new faces.
While quite a few of the past nominees and winners have made re-appearances (and will no doubt do so again next year), there is a plethora of new faces in the mix and not just in the Newcomers category.
Miss Glory Pearl’s The Naked Stand Up was a hit at the Fringe and, out in Acton, The Aeronaut’s progress is remarkable – how many other pubs in London have hosted international circus productions like Casus Circus’ Knee Deep?
Songbook has had a very good year.
After the unqualified PR disaster that was last year’s London Festival of Cabaret – “a celebration of the American and British songbook” – the genre barely featured amongst the 2014 London Cabaret Awards winners.
This time around, cabaret’s version of musical theatre has made significant inroads into the latest longlist. This re-found favour is something which may heal – or perhaps open again – the wounds that the festival’s announcement caused in the wider cabaret community.
Songbook accounts for six of the seven nominations for Best One-off Production, six (out of ten) for Best Vocal Act, three for Best Cabaret Venue and two for Best Host as well as mentions in the Best Drag Act, Best Ongoing Production and Best Newcomer categories.
The next London Cabaret Awards ceremony will take place on 9 March 2015 at the Cafe de Paris. Tickets are available on the official website.
Watch out for Part 2 on Wednesday, when we cover what we feel was particularly awful about this year’s longlist. It’s not a short article.