And now, the end is near. Another year faces the final curtain. My friends, we’ll say it clear. We’ll state our case, of which we’re certain. We’ve lived a year that’s full and travelled to each and every venue. And more, much more than this, we did it sideways (edging through crowds, that is).
Yes, another blisteringly brilliant year of variety entertainment will soon bite the dust so let’s see it off with a bang. As everyone knows, there ain’t no party like a cabaret party so here are some of our hand-picked options to whisper goodbye, kiss au revoir or snog arrivederci to 2014. We’ll leave the choice up to you.
White Mischief’s New Year’s Eve Variety Extravaganza
If we could legally marry one party, this one would be it. The White Mischief events have been like a particularly energetic lover that constantly surprises you through the long dark night, always leaves you fulfilled yet somehow yearning for more. It has more tricks up its sleeve than an army of cocky casanovas and attracts plenty of attention from a real variety of well-attired folk. Indeed, White Mischief events are worth going to for the people-watching alone as punters habitually put in an above par effort to fit the theme, be it the War Of The Worlds or Births, Marriages and Deaths.
There’s no particular message for this NYE blowout, just the usual sky-high quality of cabaret on offer plus plenty of playful folk in an intimate venue to lap it up. Compere Lili La Scala will be overseeing an orgy of vaudeville talent including her silent partner The Boy With Tape On His Face, aerialist burlesquer Empress Stah and tap dancing with a juicy twist from Juggling On Tap.
Bush Hall, 310 Uxbridge Rd, W12 7LJ. £35-£97. www.whitemischief.info
Between Two Worlds
The award-winning Double R Club will seeing off another successful year in the East London homeland. With tickets to this party costing a fraction of those around town, host Benjamin Louche and co-founder Rose Thorne will bring their own brand of dark cabaret to South Place Hotel. Louche will be very much worth the ticket price alone with his Lynchian antics and acerbic patter but the rest of the bill (including burlesquer Bettsie Bon Bon, the mysterious Des O’Connor, stretchy comedienne Abi Collins and the record-breaking Snake Fervor) are no-one’s idea of chopped liver.
As the title suggests, the South Place Hotel has a handy alternative to the cabaret. Those wanting to get their groove on can check out the first floor where The Road To Nowhere will be inviting guests to dance their way back to the heady days of 1980s New York.
South Place Hotel, 3 South Pl, London EC2M 2AF. £15 in advance. www.southplacehotel.com
Herr Kettner’s Kabaret – New Year Special
Located in deepest, darkest Soho, Herr Kettner can be the classiest speakeasy in town when it turns up the cabaret. Recent shows are a marked improvement on last year’s offerings and there’s enough vaudeville here to power any joint through to 2014. Queen of the ukelele Tricity Vogue will be there, as will laconic chanson Marcel Lucont, sultry burlesquer Ruby Deshabille, sultry siren Delores Delight and magician Christian Lee.
Alternatively, take a wonder around and bump into the the Basin Street Brawlers band or Vince Moses on the ones and twos after enjoying a makeover from Lipstick and Curls and swigging some special cocktails. Turn up from 7:30 if you need feeding before the fun starts.
Kettner’s. 29 Romilly Street, London W1D 5HP. £50 or £165 should Sir or Madam wish to enjoy a four-course dinner there.
Camp (New Year’s Eve)
Shoreditch may be seen by some as a cesspit of hipsters but, come the last few hours of 2013, even those too cool for astronaut school should head to their local town hall. Scottee’s collection of “camp clichés, television re-enactments and game shows” is a whipsmart and ever-evolving carnival of cultural cannibalism. This month, it has already tackled had on the destructive effect of the HS2 rail link on Scottee’s home estate and the final edition is no less ambitious.
Inaugural winner of the Time Out & Soho Theatre Award, New York singer Lady Rizo is already well known on this side of the pond. Alongside her will be everyone’s favourite rapping oldie Ida Barr plus Ginger Johnson, Mzz Kimberley, Ashleigh P Owen, Japan’s People, Legs and Coq and the Actionettes. Tip for the hipsters: get that iPhone all charged up before you leave your houseshare, heaven forbid you should be unable to take an unbearably ironic selfie come midnight.
Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London EC1V 9LT. £15-£20. www.shoreditchtownhall.com
The bizarre but brilliant union of retro booze merchants Bourne And Hollingsworth and the fetish party supremos Torture Garden has proved one of this year’s surprise debuts. This curious concoction of the dapper and the fetishistas is a beguiling one and, when these two tribes go to party, the results are a true spectacle both on and off stage. A bill featuring fire-breathing aerialist geisha Yusura and the Reigning Queen of Burlesque Lou Lou D’Vil will join host Tom Baker of The Bohemianauts and deviant quartet The Late Night Shop Cabaret.
So what does one wear to such an occasion? The recommended options should provide a few chuckles plus an idea of what to expect: “Ring Masters, Burlesque Showgirls, Leopard Print Leotards, Tattooed Ladies, Sideshow Freaks, Queens of the Flying Trapeze, Animal Masks, Clowns, Snake Charmers, Lion Tamers, Strong Men, Venice Carnival Masque Ball, Moulin Rouge, Berlin Kabaret, Steam Punk, Top Hat & Tails, Feathers & Corsets, Decadent Dandies, Beautiful Ballerinas, Ball Gowns, Cocktails Dresses, Dashing Vintage Suits etc.” Have fun.