Club Swizzle is a contemporary take on the cabaret of the Weimar Republic, about which we’ve recently learned so much thanks to Barry Humphries’ recent show at the Barbican.
This isn’t a piece of theatre to come and just watch. It’s a party with added entertainment. Get their early (the cast do) and enjoy a drink or two at the bar, which later becomes the stage. Then enjoy another drink or two in the interval, as you’re encouraged to do by the outrageously camp MC Rueben Kaye. Part Sally Bowles, part Julian Clary and nearly all sequins, this, he says, is what you get if your parents say you can be whatever you want to be!
His introduction sets the tone for what is to follow – daring, dangerous, raunchy, funny and rude (a bit too sweary for my taste at times, I admit). The evening consists of a series of ‘turns’ provided by a talented and energetic troupe, accompanied by a punchy and lively four-piece band – although you’d think there were more from the impressive sound they make.
The Swizzle Boys are acrobats, literally jumping through hoops to entertain you. Laurie Hagen does a brilliantly funny turn as a drunk stripper who stumbles onto the stage, chaotically tripping herself up and ending up almost accidentally removing parts of her outfit, for example getting her stiletto heel caught in her stocking. Yamnel Rodriguez exudes style and class in her aerial act. And Dandy Wellington – a band leader from Harlem – recreates the jazz age with his super-energetic singing and dancing.
The only number I recognised in the evening was sung by our MC Reuben at the end (One for My Baby) and I’d loved to have heard his take on another standard or two.
All the acts are at the top of their field, demonstrating technical excellence, precision, humour and great stagecraft. It’s a great night out which I imagine would work well for groups – as long as they’re fairly broad minded! And you can get in for as little as a tenner to see world class performers at the top of their game.
Club Swizzle is at London’s Roundhouse until 26 August 2018. Sue in the Stalls attended courtesy of London Box Office.