Late night variety cabaret show at the Assembly Rooms.
Set in the back room of the Assembly Rooms complex the setting is perfect for a late night variety show, the atmosphere has a buzz yet it is relaxed, it’s late the audience are well oiled, seated around tables or lounging in groups by the entrance, a mixture of staff, performers promoters guests and anyone who has managed to blag a pass into the Assembly it is a place for performers to give a taste of their show and the word of mouth can quickly spread if something is good. And last night it was all good, it was great.
The compere Asher Treleaven had a wonderfully laconic approach, which suited the content and situation perfectly, ever so slightly world weary, charming and knowing with none of the desperate need to please that is so prevalent with other comperes in it what passes for modern variety.
He smoothly guided us through an eclectic bill, a wonderful mixture of physical theatre, burlesque, circus and freakshow,
We arrived just in time to catch the first act so apologies if I missed a brilliant opening. The Weepers from Prague were a group of physical performers weaving Slavic folk songs into a story about the relationships of a group of city dwellers searching for their roots, that’s the back story, The piece combined effortless and playful contemporary dance with a haunting song which instantly made me want to see the whole show.
Next up from Circus Oz we were brought Ethiopian juggler/ball bouncer Sosina Wogayehu, but it was more than juggling, evoking the spirit and the look of Josephine Baker Sosina brought a real warmth to the room. The manipulation was highly skilled with up to 7 balls at any one time bouncing and cascading around her, this for me is variety cabaret at its best, highly skilled, beautifully presented with wit dexterity and a warmth that reached out to the audience and lit up the stage.
She was followed by Bree Mcshee who performed a polished burlesque routine to Radioheads “I’m a creep” Again it is good to see burlesque performed well in the midst of so much mediocrity that the world of burlesque seems to encourage Bree will surely stand out.
Asher then treated us to a demonstration of how to shove a fork up each nostril, god knows how he came to discover he could do this , it was delightfully difficult to watch, like all good freakshow you wouldn’t want to do it yourself but you’re glad somebody else has gone to the trouble to do it for you.
The final act was a wonderful striptease from Gypsy Wood, but to say it was a striptease doesn’t really do it justice, she appeared in the middle of the audience, a bride on her way to the altar only to be cruelly jilted as she arrived on the stage. For the rest of the piece she threw herself dementedly about the stage tearing off the bridal gown in a wild and wonderful melee of white froth, legs and primal screaming finishing off with a gorgeous reveal. It was a great finale and the audience loved every moment.
A wonderful and truly spirited evening of top class variety cabaret, this sort of performance standard sets the mark for other acts to live up to, watch and learn, The Supper Club is where its at right now
Reviewed by Chris Cresswell 13th Aug 08