Ernesto Sarezale's Velvet Tongue allows performers to strip away all sense of censoring.

Review: Velvet Tongue

This week’s Velvet Tongue was a filthier affair than even we expected.

Ernesto Sarezale's Velvet Tongue allows performers to strip away all sense of censoring.

Ernesto Sarezale’s Velvet Tongue allows performers to strip away all sense of censoring.

Describing itself as London’s erotic literary soirée, Velvet Tongue promises a night of poetry and performance with a naughty twist. Those who consider Jane Austen’s back catalogue to be a mite racy, look away now.

This occasional evening serves a dual purpose. Experienced artists have the chance to give fresh works an airing while an open mic slot allows new poets the chance to test their material and their mettle in front of a live audience.

Staged under Shoreditch’s Bar Kick, the evening’s speakers board a small stage in the basement to deliver a variety of oratories. Some of the performances and poetry can be a little reserved, true, but the majority take the lead of host Ernesto Sarezale in providing something a little more salacious to the audience.

In either case the event is a valuable opportunity for the performers to strip away all sense of censoring, say what they truly feel and bring to light their darkest thoughts and works. As one might expect, the night is not short on expletives, nudity or BDSM imagery. The subjects range from simple unrequited love and kissing, through to some downright filth. This is certainly not an event for anyone with a sensitive nature.

Velvet Tongue has the perfect mix of engaging and mesmerising word play and pure hilarity.

Velvet Tongue has the perfect mix of engaging and mesmerising word play and pure hilarity.

Featuring naked performance artists Coffee+Sponge and poets Roz Kaveney, Rene L’Amour and Steven Pottle, this edition of Velvet Tongue had the perfect mix of engaging and mesmerising wordplay and pure hilarity. The ambience snaps between attentive silence and out of control hysterics without a second thought throughout the show.

Unfortunately for the audience and the artists, the conditions were far from ideal. Loud interruptions throughout from the roaring sounds of punters and their stomping in the bar above meant performers were frequently hard to hear. The real dealbreaker of this particular event was the foul smell wafting around the room along with venue staff constantly mopping and laying paper towels down while performers were on stage. A huge sewerage water leak just after the interval forced an early end to the evening’s proceedings; the venue was literally flooding with spectators in the front row having to lift their feet up to avoid the foul smelling water.

The horrendous smell and rude interruptions from upstairs could not mute the quality of work on display. It may have turned out to be a stinker of a night but Sarezale and the performers came out smelling of roses; while the standard of talent naturally fluctuated over the course of the evening, this first Velvet Tongue of 2013 sets a high watermark for future episodes.

Velvet Tongue. Hosted by Ernesto Sarezale. Bar Kick, London E1 6JE. 25th February, 19:00. £5/£3.

Photo credit for all images: John Fraser


Helen started her musical career as a tuba player, and is now a composer, writer and performer currently living in London. With extensive training in music, she is passionate about performance and pushing the boundaries of creative collaboration. During her studies, Helen was introduced to the world of circus and cabaret, and has since started performing as a hula hoop artist. She regularly collaborates with performers of various disciplines to create new performance pieces. These range from a piece for contortionist and prepared harp, right through to electronic backing tracks for hula hoops and jugglers. She now concentrates her new pieces on custom made electronic music and individually crafted acoustic works, carefully designed to accompany each performer. Helen has worked with seasoned cabaret performers and prestigious dance companies, including Transitions Dance Company. Her work has been performed throughout the UK and overseas. As a writer she enjoys anything out of the ordinary. Whilst continuing to review various music events throughout the capital, Helen now revels in the challenge of experiencing and as many odd things as possible.

'Review: Velvet Tongue' has no comments

Be the first to comment this post!

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

All words and pictures are the copyright of the scribes and shooters respectively who gave up their time and effort to create them. Everything else is copyright This Is Cabaret (2012-2015).