Cute budget retro-themed club night with not-so-cute budget cabaret acts

Midnight feast: get a flavour of Coney Island at this East London show.

East London loves a nice retro-themed event, but the Coney Island Party and Freakshow at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club attracts a mixed crowd with a fairly low hipster count.

This budget club night aims to recreate the atmosphere of the New York funfair beach spot in its 1950s & 1960s heyday, with cardboard cutout fairground stalls, Mermaid Parade Freak Show and midnight hot dog eating contest.

DJ Cleo spins a great collection of dance floor hits from the era, while the friendly and enthusiastic party-goers mingle, rocking their sailor dresses, Hawaiian  shirts and beach wear. Another hit of the evening is the hand-painted fake tattoo parlour, entertaining its customers as they watch each ink design being created.

The cabaret acts are a disappointment, with ungainly 1960s-style dance group The Actionettes appearing under-rehearsed, stiff and unconvincing. Lacking stage presence and showing only a basic dance ability, their half-hearted audience dance competition becomes an awkward damp squib, when the contestants prove to be far better dancers than The Actionettes.

Matters don’t improve when magic act Tony Garulo takes the stage, with his slow-paced, unoriginal and baffling attempts at physical comedy. The audience politely watches despite this, but as one reveller next to me comments to her friend, “He’s losing his audience.”

A cute budget retro-themed club night with not-so-cute budget cabaret acts, the Coney Island Party and Freakshow is still a fun evening out.

Catch the next Coney Island Party and Freakshow this Saturday. More details here.

Images: Birdman Foxglove