At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve Couture enthralled its audiences through pure lyrical prowess, captivating burlesque acts and an unforgettable fire performance. Hosted by internationally acclaimed comedian, singer, and presenter Zak Black, four performers took on the stage to expose their unadulterated talent in an honorable attempt to raise money for the Terrence Higgins Trust.
These performers include Miss Disney, a singer of Disney classics dressed provocatively and in brand to the films that are ingrained into our childhood memories. Meanwhile, Mademoiselle Lavelle is a trained circus performer who experiments with technique while self-described as having an edgy macabre side. Whilst Doctor Woof is a pavarotti whose shows are filled with comedy and opera-ranging chords which placed him in the finals in Britain’s Got Talent. Among them is also Violet Blaze, a beautiful burlesque performer and singer who has been accoladed by RuPaul – a feat for any performer within the present cabaret scene.
Golden palm trees, a ceiling with religious iconography and a set reminiscent of a David Lynch film; entering Proud Cabaret was a clear indication of a high-profile environment suited for an evening of intriguing cabaret shows. Prosecco glass in hand, we waited for the show to start and with a slight cringe inducing countdown and a voice over asking us if we were ready to be entertained, the evening kick-started with some singing from our host: Zak Black who wore a hybrid costume with elements of circus, military and equestrian clothing in order to command the evening.
The audience was in the right headspace to enjoy the night. With chants, claps, woos and whistles, the first performer of the night, Doctor Woof, came on stage in a drag ensemble of a mauve faux-fur coat and black feathered accents: a captivating outfit that demanded attention from the audience. With quick-witted humour and a melodic voice with an outstanding range, Doctor Woof was a first act that would be tough to follow. Yet the performance that enthralled me the most was a blazing set by Mademoiselle Lavelle who’s fire show kept everyone in the room on the edge of their seats. Yet having this performance prior to her last one ended up undermining her closing act which was an underwhelming s&m piece with an anticlimactic ending of showing her victim’s organs.
I was told prior to the show to “expect everything, to expect every element of variety in this show” and my expectations were nowhere near the level that these talented performers took the debut of this exciting new series that Brighton needs: Verve Couture.
Images Credit: Jim Carey