The London Cabaret Awards is the dream-child of Cabaret impresario Paul L Martin. It’s a spectacular occasion where the folk who work within the wondrous world of cabaret get to take the night off, drink champagne and be entertained rather than entertain!
There is the Oscars, the Ivor Novello Awards, BAFTA, Grammies even the National Soap Awards, and on Monday 9th March the exuberant and ridiculously talented people within the world of cabaret got their turn to show off their false eyelashes, glitter, feather, lace, lipstick and cleavage as only they know how.
The 2015 ceremony took place on the edge of London’s bustling Soho in the Café De Paris. The event was a magnification of all that is good and relevant in today’s cabaret scene.
In attendance were the A-List of who is who in the scene, as well as nominated artists and presenters for the night’s awards also many up and coming performers came along to show their support. The tickets were also available to the general public.
The format of the event was quite simple, arrive, be papped by the eager press – take your seat, drink copious amounts of champagne, watch award show, hopefully pick up an award or clap politely as your cabaret nemeses picks up theirs – then network, dance and drink till you fall out of the venue, hopefully with feathers and lip-gloss still intact.
As well as awarding 14 acts with their coveted London Cabaret Award, Paul L Martin and Excess All Areas produced a tour de force of an event – salubrious and entertaining on all counts. As an audience we were treated to a cheeky live performance by the Burlesque troupe The Folly Mixtures as well as a seductive routine from Bettise Bon Bon. We were entertained by a slick yet somewhat disturbing performance from Bruce Airhead. Bruce can, and does, don a mankini, lube up his head and shoulders and climb inside a rather large balloon – I guess you have to see it to believe it! I’m sure there must be footage on YouTube. It’s weird to watch and was received with tremendous applause from all in attendance.
Ladies GoDiva, a relatively new act on the scene, delivered a self-penned delight called “meal for 2” the song taps in the obsession with cooking and baking programmes that this generation has – these talented ladies sang their number with perfect comic timing and beautiful harmonies. Definitely an act to watch out for in the coming months.. maybe a possible nomination for next year’s Best Newcomer?
The last performance of the evening came from Desmond O’Connor, Des worked his way through the audience singing an x-rated song about pleasure giving and philias!!!.. his performance received tumultuous applause along with raucous laughter. This man is a star!
The evening was held together by host extraordinaire Myra DuBois. Dressed from head to toe in animal print her quick wit, acerbic tongue and ability to insult the audience was truly magnificent. As well as delivering half of a Duet, “that’s duet, not Jew-ett,” from the musical Chess, Myra also managed to get out some enviable one liners including, “I like slamming them bare back – you gotta get your kicks where you can” and “tonight’s a lovely excuse to get shit faced”. As Myra maneuverer herself through the audience, making fun of guests both those who paid for tickets and those invited, she managed to polish off quite a few glasses of wine, and win the respect of all in attendance.
It was when Dusty Limits, winner of Best Host, dedicated his award, briefly, to Myra DuBois the applause magnified around the room. It was just a shame for Myra that she didn’t’ win the award for Best Drag Act, but lost out to a Tranny with a Fanny – her words not mine!!
I’m sure many of us Ladies out there wish we could be the queen of drag, well on Monday, Holestar was officially named the Best Drag Act. A new claim to add to her already strange list of achievements – “Holestar is a former British soldier, brothel receptionist and dominatrix with a MA in Fine Art”.
As well as drinking lots of lovely wine and laughing very loudly, I also got to speak to one of the judges – Jo King. Jo and I spoke about the process from nomination to selection. I asked her why she feels credible as a judge – her simple response was “I’m so worthy is scary”. And rightly so, Jo has 36 years behind her as a cabaret artist and teacher. She stood firm regarding the judges decisions of who won which award, saying that the right people won tonight – however, if she was forced to pick an act that didn’t win, she would commend Amber Topaz. To her, Amber is a phenomenal all round entertainer. On the awards themselves, she is “very proud of Paul [ L Martin} and his achievements – no one else does what he does”.
I’ll end this piece with two quotes, one from Paul L Martin “year 4 and this is the most astonishing celebration of the cabaret yet”. And one from Marcus Reeves, who presented the Best Alternative Act award, he described the current cabaret scene as a melting pot for the weird and wonderful. To me this is a perfect description of the London Cabaret Awards 2015. Here’s to year 5, 6, 7, 8….
Review by Faye Stockley
See the full list of nominees and winners at:
Wednesday 11th March 2015