The London Cabaret Awards season has started in earnest with the release of its longlist of nominees. Who are this year’s runners and riders and who missed the cut?
Now in its third year, the London Cabaret Awards announced this week its latest longlist of nominees. We have reproduced a full list below and congratulate everyone who has been nominated.
Although the eventual victors’ names have yet to be etched onto the trophies, there are already some winners and losers. Amidst the hundred or so candidates, there are some noteworthy inclusions, curious omissions and a few things which made us very happy.
The London cabaret scene
In a year when the very definition of cabaret has been fought over between the London Festival Of Cabaret (“a celebration of the American and British songbook”) and the London Cabaret Festival which took a rather more inclusive approach, it appears the judges have come down firmly on the latter’s side. Sure, many of the key songbook-heavy joints like Crazy Coqs, Hippodrome Casino and St James Studio have been long-listed for Best Cabaret Venue but no show or performer (with the notable exception of the headline-grabbing “newcomer” Alexander Armstrong) at the six-week long London Festival Of Cabaret has been nominated for an award. Indeed, songbook shows as a whole have drawn a blank when it comes to Best Production.
Hoo-fucking-rah! It has taken the London Cabaret Awards two years and an earbashing from us to finally recognise that circus artists deserve their own category. As well as that new classification, a world-class show in Limbo is up for a trophy and this summer’s biggest big top London Wonderground could walk away with its own award for Best Cabaret Venue. Numbercrunchers and gender equality advocates will be delighted to know that the new Best Circus Act category is the only one split equally between male and female nominees.
Adapted cabaret events – where cabaret acts are part of a larger production – are often the variety virgin’s first live glimpse of drag, musical comedy or other speciality turns. Last year, I railed against their continued exclusion from the nominations so there was a small tear in my eye on seeing one of adapted cabaret’s finest proponents White Mischief in the running for Best Production. If the cabaret scene is to grow as a whole, adapted cabaret will play a vital role in showcasing the stunning breadth of talent London is proud to be host to.
Boylesque has never been bigger or better. A staple of the rather fine Soho Burlesque Club at the Hippodrome Casino, the talented Phil Ingud is a classic example of how male strippers can appeal to a mainstream audience. Superstars of London’s burgeoning queerlesque scene including Mr Mistress and Miss Cairo have been strutting their stuff all over the capital while Howard Wilmot’s Boylexe – now fronted by two-time London Cabaret Award winner Alp Haydar – goes from strength to strength. Yet all the burlesque nominees this year are decidely of the female persuasion. What gives?
The Double R Club
The Double R Club has been one of this year’s high points. If you don’t believe us, ask the audiences not just at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club but at Jackson’s Lane and the London Wonderground which saw rare visits from the dark Lynch-loving freakshow this summer. Benjamin Louche has never been better as a host and his wife and Double R Club co-founder Rose Thorne deserves special praise for organising the All-Star Nude Cabaret Charity Calendar which is raising money for two cancer charities. The Club picked up the London Cabaret Award for Best Ongoing Production in 2012 and 2013 yet, as they have not being nominated in the new Best Production category, will unfortunately miss out on the hat-trick. Whichever show does win will be hard-put to beat Louche’s acceptance speech in 2012.
Time Out Live’s London Wonderground shows
Given the consistent high-calibre, popularity and inventiveness of their shows at the London Wonderground, it is a little surprising that many of Time Out Live’s productions have received no recognition. This year’s Friday Night Freakshow was as enjoyable a filthy funfest as we’ve seen and Alternative Eurovision is still one of the absolute highlights of the cabaret calendar. Miss Behave’s Social And Pleasure Aid made excellent use of its effervescent host and anarchic set-up while the EastEnd Cabaret-curated Silencio was an audacious melange of silent film, circus, musical comedy and silent disco.
A full list of this year’s nominees can be found below. Errors can be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Best Vocal Performance||Best Drag Act||Best Burlesque Act|
|Dusty LimitsLe Gateau ChocolatHolly Penfield||The cast of BriefsCharlie Hides TVCookie Monstar||Amber TopazBetsy RoseJolie Papillon|
|Best Host||Best Speciality Act||Best Alternative Performer|
|Benjamin LoucheChristian LeeDusty Limits||Abigail CollinsAJ JamesBoris & Sergey||Blanche DuboisChrisalysDave The Bear|
|Best Newcomer||Best Production||Best Circus Act|
|Alexander ArmstrongGinger JohnsonIt’s Your Funeral||Black Cat CabaretBoom & Bang CircusBriefs||Bret PfisterCraig The Incredible Hula BoyHugo Desmarais|
|Best Musical Variety||Best Cabaret Venue|
|Adam KayBourgeois & MauriceChristopher Green||Bethnal Green Working Men’s ClubCrazy CoqsJermyn Street|