EastEnd Cabaret comes with high expectations. Their show, The Revolution Will Be Sexual, has been showered with critical praise and this week they grace the cover of Time Out.
The spacious Arcola tent may not be the obvious choice for cabaret, but it works surprisingly well, albeit with a rather chilly audience who kept their coats firmly on as they sipped mulled wine.
And then the gin-swilling duo emerged. Soviet sweetheart Bernadette Byrne (Jennifer Byrne) sashayed her way to the stage with a shrill “elo darlingz”. She was followed by Victor Victoria (Victoria Falconer-Pritchard), who was dressed as half man half woman and was brandishing an accordion.
As Victor took his or her seat at the piano, Bernadette launched into a slow tempo version of Let’s Talk About Sex. This would prove a fitting prelude to her many tales of sexual misadventure that wove the show together.
The first, just in case the audience thought this was a pre-watershed affair, involved an anecdote about a trip to Thailand and a ping pong ball.
A story about an unfortunate case of rigor mortis followed, which was complemented by the most adept kazoo playing I have ever witnessed. An audience member was then ushered onto the stage as Bernadette improvised a song about their date together based on his responses, which featured Nandos and ‘Toy Story’ 2 and 3.
The duo’s witty repartee was not limited to salacious anecdotes, however, and Victor’s puppeteering of a hammer and sickle created an ingenious narrative of the financial crisis. Littered with profanities, David Cameron does not come out of it well.
After a story involving the Dalston Dominatrix – that featured songs by Nelly and Kings of Leon – it was time to stay goodnight. The show ended with a tribute to a night of drunken excess: mistaking fosters for cocktails and waking up with four club stamps on your wrist.
EastEnd Cabaret has created a wonderfully witty show: flawlessly maintained characters with musical talent and even better comic timing keep the audience enraptured.
It is not first date material or a family outing – you are asked at one point to intertwine legs with the person next to you – but this show is the ideal outing for friends.
Enjoy with a healthy dose of gin and brace yourself for some audience participation.
The Arcola Tent in Dalston hosts EastEnd Cabaret from November 16-19 and 24-26. See the Arcola website for booking information.