As you nurse your fringe fest hangovers and gather what’s left of your sanity, feast your bleary eyes on these juicy cabaret gems coming your way this month. From Britney to Whitney, musical comedy to drag mayhem and circus to striptease, September has got it all going on…
Briefs: Close Encounters
The boylesque super troupe returns to the Underbelly Spiegeltent with a brand new, intergalactic extravaganza of circus, comedy, striptease, and killer choreography.
With award winning burlesque star Captain Kidd and his partner in life and showbiz, Fez Faanana, at the helm, cabaret fans will be delighted to discover Harry Clayton-Wright, whose alter ego Harriet won adoring fans in Miss Behave’s Gameshow, as a new addition to the cast.
The Briefs boys will also be offering some late night down and dirty action at Club Briefs, a sexy romp of music, performance and mayhem.
Underbelly Festival, every day except Monday until 30th September. Tickets from £25.00. Find out more and purchase tickets.
Miss Polly Rae: Between the Sheets
Burlesque superstar and founder of The Hurly Burly Show, Miss Polly Rae invites us once more into her boudoir for another summer season of her critically-acclaimed revue.
Between The Sheets explores lust, love, and everything in between, showcasing a sensational ensemble cast, including lewd lyrics from Lilly Snatchdragon, sensual circus from Duo Visage, world class fire tricks and striptease from Kitty Bang Bang, and Rae herself, a saucy, smouldering chanteuse.
Underbelly Festival, 8th and 29th September. Tickets from £22.50. Find out more and purchase tickets.
To mark the upcoming “dianaversary”, Desmond O’Connor’s acclaimed musical comedy Royal Vauxhall returns to its birthplace for two nights this month.
When Princess Diana dreams of a wild night out away from the long lenses of the paparazzi and the ruthless Royals at the Palace, best buddies Freddie Mercury and Kenny Everett know there is only one place to take her: the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
The only trouble is: how the hell are they going to get one of the most famous faces in the world through the door without blowing her cover?
With Mercury previously played by cabaret superstar Reuben Kaye, O’Connor will be stepping into the role himself for this run with Joe Morrow as Kenny Everett and Carrie Marx as the people’s poppet.
Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 6th – 7th September. Tickets from £10.00. Find out more and purchase tickets.
Ashes to Ashes: A Cabaret Tribute to David Bowie
Bowie fans of every stripe, era and age are invited to pay homage to the much missed Thin White Duke, reliving his songs and celebrated incarnations, and culminating in a Spiegeltent sing-a-long.
The evening features cabaret luminaries including Dusty Limits, Benjamin Louche, Vicky Butterfly and Ruby Wednesday.
All profits raised on the night will be donated to Cabaret vs Cancer, a London based charity who support those living with cancer, as well as the child bereavement team at St Joseph’s in Hackney.
Underbelly Festival, 2nd September. Tickets from £17.50. Find out more and purchase tickets.
P.S. If you’re still hungry for more Bowie brilliance, consider Simply Bowie – former NME Male Vocalist of the Year Oliver Darley’s tribute to the pop giant at Live at Zedel on 28th September.
Kings of Clubs
Kings of Clubs, South London’s first dedicated drag king night, makes its second appearance at the RVT, featuring more luminaries of the groundbreaking drag king scene after its inaugural outing in July.
Hosted by King Frankie Sinatra, the show has a celebrity theme, with performances from kings James Bond, Billy Idol, Jeremy Corbyn, Freddie Mercury, Mr Bean, Manley Stanley, Zayn Phallic, Dirty Harry, and Nancy Sinatra, with more guests to be announced.
Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 20th September. Tickets £6.00. Find out more and purchase tickets.
Wuthering Nights: A Kate Bush Disco
Brace yourselves, Kate fanatics: Wuthering Nights are coming to London with a Bush bash to remember, complete with excessive smoke machines, Kate masks, Kate lyric posters, Kate underwear, Kate visuals, and plenty of Kate capes for swirling around the dance floor.
Dressing up is positively encouraged, with Bush obsessed DJs keeping the classics coming into the early hours.
Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, 15th September. Tickets from £8.00. Find out more and purchase tickets.
PopHorror VIII: Papa Don’t Screech – Madonna Special
Enter a world of “chaos, terror and darn fine pop music” in Baby Lame’s twisted tribute to Madonna.
Tracy Barlow, Benjamin Butch, Breda Von Tease, and Mariah Hurtz give Her Madgesty’s hits the horror treatment, with video mashups, ghoulish games, and a deadly disco until midnight.
Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 27th September. Tickets from £5.50. Find out more and purchase tickets.
Also in September…
Formed in 2006, drag troupe The LipSinkers are now in their fifth year of residency at The RVT with their “weird, wild, funny and fresh” cult pop experience.
Friday 1st September, Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Tickets from £6.96.
Suburbaret: Gareth’s Suburban Gadget Show
Suburbaret is back with a brand new game show. Expect prizes, special guests, and a bit of gossip about the neighbours.
2nd September, Arts Theatre West End. Tickets £10.00.
Janine Johnson: The Hits of Whitney Houston
After her debut at Live at Zédel earlier this year with Confessions of a Soul Diva, Johnson is back with a personal tribute to the legendary Whitney Houston.
3rd September, Live at Zedel. Tickets from £20.00.
A night devoted to the weird, the wonderful, and the fabulous. Internationally acclaimed drag acts, Comedy Award winners, successful musical acts and much more.
3rd September, Angel Comedy Club. Tickets £7.50.
Werk In Progress with Jonny Woo
Perform at Jonny Woo’s evening designed for trying out new acts, numbers and ideas. All types of queer art and performance welcome – queens, kings, comedian, musicians, puppetry, dance – you name it!
5th September, The Glory. FREE.
Britney Spears: The Cabaret
Not so much a cabaret as a cry for help, Christie Whelan Browne reprises her critically acclaimed performance in this satirical look at the perils of fame.
6th – 9th September, The Other Palace. Tickets from £20.00.
A journey into the depths of drug-addled dreams, starring Rubyyy Jones and Madeleine Soleil.
6th September, HAUNT. Tickets from £8.00.
The Folly Mixtures: Stars & Strippers
The ever-growing London burlesque troupe returns to the Spiegeltent to celebrate everything you love or loathe about the US of A! Expect everything from Vegas feathers, to whiskey-drinking cowgirls and tap dancing Trumps in this fun and frivolous burlesque revue.
6th September, Underbelly Festival. Tickets from £15.50.
Christine Bovill’s PIAF
Christine Bovill’s PIAF, as much a play as it is a musical homage, is a celebration of one of France’s most endearing icons. Incorporating some of her best known songs, threaded with Piaf’s story, Christine’s tells of her own remarkable journey in the world of chanson.
7th – 14th September, Underbelly Festival. Tickets from £15.50.
Hooray Cabaret: The Musical
In Hooray Cabaret: The Musical, all the comedy is musical and all of the burlesque is musical-inspired. Featuring Elsie Diamond, Pearl Grey, and hosted by Victoria Kember.
8th September, MOTH Club. Tickets from £7.00.
Laurence Owen and Lindsay Sharman: The Time Machine
The year is 1959. It is the golden age of sci-fi. A mysterious man arrives at Radio Woking to present a thrilling musical adaptation of HG Wells’ classic story…
9th and 10th September, Live at Zedel. Tickets from £17.50.
Staged – Circumference
Featuring three performers on an aerial platform as precarious as our perceptions. A single action changes everything, but everything is not always what it seems.
12th – 16th September, Jacksons Lane. Tickets from £8.00.
Join the self-declared siren from South Yorkshire as she stands trial seeking redemption from you, her adoring audience. She’ll tell you herself, ‘the devil made me do it!’
13th September, Underbelly Festival. Tickets from £12.50.
Le Fil: 24/7 Live
Come join British-Chinese provocateur pop artist Le Fil, as he, she or it explores a 24/7 world of gay-straight men, desire and objectification through a fusion of “hip-thrusting, pounding music, twisted autobiography and gender-bending performance art”.
14th September, Hackney Showroom. Tickets from £10.00.
It’s Your Funeral
A night full of cutting edge performances from the freshly deceased and immersive theatrical depravity. Hosted by ‘international man of misery’ Tom Baker, and featuring Snake Fervour, Missa Blue and Carmen Mon Oxide.
14th September, Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. Tickets £8.00.
Broadway veteran and Mad Men star Bryan Batt returns with his one-man cabaret show paying tribute to his life growing up in New Orleans, the city that fostered his love of music and theatre.
15 – 17th September, Live at Zedel. Tickets from £25.00.
TOPLESS: The Path to Extinction
Hot off their tour of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Gingzilla and Cazeleonare delighted to bring back TOPLESS: The Path To Extinction. Under threat of extinction, how do they survive the harsh realities of London life and prevent themselves from becoming the last of their kind?
17th September, Live at Zedel. Tickets from £15.00.
Dusty Limits: Mandrogyny
How does a little boy obsessed with dinosaurs grow up to sing louche cabaret songs in makeup and heels? That’s the question which may or may not be answered by Mandrogyny, as Dusty Limits returns to Underbelly Festival with a tribute to gender non-conformity and a celebration of all things queer.
20th September, Underbelly Festival. Tickets from £15.50.
When a grafting comic from the pub and club circuit of the north is told that his stock material isn’t suitable for the modern comedy palette, where does he go? Brand new character comedy from Gareth Joyner (the man responsible for Myra DuBois).
21st September, Her Upstairs. Tickets £5.90.
Peter Straker’s Brel
Straight from a sold-out tour of Tommy, one of the finest voices in cabaret returns to Crazy Coqs for his unique interpretation of renowned firebrand Jacques Brel’s life and works.
23rd September, Live at Zedel. Tickets £25.00.
CaBiRet is an evening of bisexual cabaret with words, music, and magic at The Cavendish Arms in Stockwell. There will be a collection for bisexual community causes.
24th September, Cavendish Arms. Free entry with charitable collection.
The A/W 2017 Xtravaganzah
Upset by the chaotic and uncertain times we are currently living in, her holiness Virgin Xtravaganzah has decided to throw care to the wind and throw herself into a curated fantasy of fashion, art, style, and extreme celestial decadence alongside Lilly Snatchdragon and Tete Bang alongside Marnie Scarlet, Pi the Mime, and Missy Macabre.
26th September, Underbelly Festival. Tickets from £12.50.
Cocoa Butter Club
The club celebrates its birthday with another packed roster of queer performers of colour covering neo-burlesque, poetry, drag, live music and voguing.
28th September, Her Upstairs. Tickets from £5.
Cover image: Gingzilla and Cazeleonare by Kazim Kane