We’ve rubbed our crystal balls, peered into the mists and we reckon that these are the people and events you should keep your eyeballs out for this year.
The Familyyy Fierce Collective
The queerlesque supertroupe led by Rubyyy Jones have gone from strength to strength in 2013. The all-killer no-filler line-up sees Jones alongside Meth (aka Mr Mistress), Lolo Brow, Miss Cairo, Ruby Wednesday, Lilly Snatchdragon, Lady Tena and Scarlett O’Hora amongst others. Together, they possess enough quirk and kook to send the Addams Family scurrying but beneath the glitter there are sex-positive messages and a refreshingly undiluted fuck-you brashness.
The collective will return in 2014 with a new series of shows at Madame Jojo’s but we doubt they’ll stop there. This gender-bending group are one cathedral-storming short of being the next Pussy Riot and may yet come to define new boundaries in modern cabaret.
Away from the bright lights of Soho’s headline shows, Veronica Blacklace has been creating a sensual brand of cabaret on her own terms and in her own way. Onstage, the Brighton-based singer and compere is a feisty package with floor-melting presence, blistering vocal talent and saucy wit to spare.
As a producer, though, she has put together some of the most exciting productions around. In her hometown of Brighton, Bordello Boheme will be a monthly occurrence in 2014. Alongside those shows, the qualified burlesque teacher is running six-week burlesque classes with the aim of turning the students into confident sirens who will perform as part of the Bordello shows.
Meanwhile in London she will be working on two other shows. Her after hours spectacular Showcase at Platinum Lace will continue fusing song and circus into brilliant bursts of entertainment as well as hosting a new Latin-themed circus show at the Guanabara. Someone get the extinguishers ready: this woman is on fire.
London Wonderground and the RVT’s Hot August Fringe
Here’s an idea: instead of migrating north for next August to check out the annual Scottish capital’s festival of fried food and the craziest crowds this side of the last Primark sale, stick around London for some of the finest variety the world has to offer.
While the Edinburgh Fringe may win out in terms of quantity, for sheer quality the South Bank’s London Wonderground is hard to beat. Recent years have seen its award-winning Spiegeltent house much of everything that makes the international cabaret scene great: world-class circus shows like Limbo, themed variety nights like Alternative Eurovision, the innovative vaudeville of EastEnd Cabaret’s Silencio, knockabout laughfests like Miss Behave’s Social Club and scintillating individual talent from acts as diverse as Camille O’Sullivan, Le Gateau Chocolat and the Tiger Lilies.
Those looking for something a bit more lo-fi should venture a little further south. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern’s Hot August Fringe has had an excellent record in recent years of unearthing stupendously creative underground acts from the queer scene and beyond. Its unique formula means that up to three shows appear on one night, a money-for-value proposition that doesn’t skimp on the talent and regularly attracts a diverse array of performers including tranny mime supergroup The LipSinkers and eye-opening multimedia shows from Ben Walters and Alp Haydar.
The Black Cat Cabaret
Faster, pussycat, thrill, seems to be the mantra at Black Cat Cabaret HQ. They may no longer be at the Friday night flavour of the Café de Paris but there will plenty of chances to cross this dark feline’s path in 2014.
Swinging from one Café to another, they are now holding court with a residency at the Cafe Royal’s Grill Room every Wednesday and Friday. That’s not all: a headline series of four shows scattered across late January to mid-March will see them recreate a heady cocktail of circus, burlesque and musical comedy at a secret venue, this time fronted by the louchest flaneur around Marcel Lucont and crimson-coiffed livewire Frisky (of Frisky and Mannish and Hi-Top Drop). An added bonus will be seeing Black Cat co-founder and burlesquer Vicky Butterfly once again aloft her trademark lunar crescent, the kind of prop many Vegas acts would auction their grannies off for. Backing them up will be cabaret DJs par excellence The Roustabouts.
Lynn Ruth Miller
Stripper grannies may be old hat but we would wager that hilarious stripper grannies with their own Soho Theatre run are still fairly unique. In the face of fierce competition from the likes of Briefs, Lynn Ruth Miller walked away with this year’s Time Out & Soho Theatre Award, the only cabaret-specific prize given at the Edinburgh Fringe.
With Time Out Live and Time Out’s cabaret section both coming to an end in 2013, Miller could be the final winner of the TO&ST Award. Indeed, without Ben Walters’ voice, the Fringe next year will be a very different affair. As both critic and TO&ST judge, Walters was a crucial element of the media coverage of cabaret at the Fringe. Through both his weekly column and his online presence within Time Out, he gave valuable profession insights into Fringe shows that were usually reviewed poorly or not at all by local bloggers and the general press and he will be a much missed element of Time Out’s 2014 Fringe coverage.
The dark princess of burlesque had one hell of a 2013. Only three years into her career, she teamed up with outspoken royal tea buddy Sukki Singapora to tour both US coasts and Japan. Unlike many cheesecake performers who prefer to rest on their Swarovski’d laurels, this neo-tinted dancer is constantly exploring new creative avenues whether it is professionally making ruffs, incorporating more daring pyrotechnics into her routines or producing another fabulous top-to-toe look.
Her fearless nature crosses over to social media; we happily forgive her Lady Gaga obsession if only because of she lets us peer into the life of a performer not just on stage but off it too. Selfies may be ever so 2013 but Galore’s profuse use of them makes happy voyeurs of all, allowing us to examine the woman behind the facepaint and – you know what? – she’s as gorgeous without the slap as she is with.
Image credit: Carolyn Cowan
Wondering what the hell happened to part one? Oh, it’s over here.