Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Cabaret Fever

It's an unexpected but welcome trend: Wellington seems to be playing host to an outbreak of cabaret and burlesque-style entertainment.

The most ambitious and upmarket is Cabaret at Chow, with shows every night in a purpose-built venue complete with , velvet curtains, communal tables, opium-den-meets-70s-motel ambience and banquet dinner. The entertainment concentrates on music (albeit with a theatrical bent) rather than the more diverse acts that you'll experience at the more chaotic events. A word of advice: while the web site sternly advises you not to be late for dinner at 8, don't arrive hungry, as starters didn't arrive until after 9 on the night that we attended.

More variety and edginess will be on offer at VauDevil Cabaret, on at Bats Theatre next weekend (22nd and 23rd), which promisingly offers to mix "genderfuck with gorgeousness, stand up with stalkers, trapeze with tap dance".

Expand your mind while destroying your neurons at "La Nuit de la Fee", an absinthe-themed night at Neat in upper Cuba St on the 28th of July. I'll be reading some new translations of Baudelaire and Rimbaud between sets of Piaf-style jazz, while Eddy whips up some absinthe concoctions to expand your consciousness (and liver).

On a slightly different note, try Jaques Brel is alive and well and living in Paris at Circa Theatre until the 23rd. The setting and audience may be a little more genteel, but the songs are often intensely moving and some of the vocal performances were spectacular.

But nothing captured the rambunctious, shambolic lewdness of cabaret better than Midnight Burlesque at Thistle Hall. These photos are dark, blurry and somewhat dodgy, but I think that's an accurate reflection of the night:


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