Last night I went to see Eastend Cabaret at the Soho Theatre, and what a night it was. For the less enlightened of you who don’t know who they are, let me embellish.
Firstly we have the glamorous ingénue, Bernadette Burne (BB), tall, slim, dressed head to toe in black, a mix of satin, sequins and feathers. She is of questionable Eastern European heritage with the voice of an angel and the mind of a sailor.
She is constantly flanked by her side kick Victor/Victoria (VV). A half-man, half-woman creation, who has a deep burning passion for Bernie, which we are led to believe goes unrequited. He/she is the musician of the duo and masterfully plays piano, accordion and very occasionally, the saw!
The award-winning pair have recently had highly successful runs at the Melbourne Comedy Festival and Edinburgh, and are just about to end their run at the Soho Theatre. The show is not for the faint-hearted, or the prudish, but if you are up for a night of good smutty humour then definitely make sure you catch them.
Right from the beginning, a sultry BB enters from the back of the room and immediately starts to play with the audience. Her aim is to find two strapping gentlemen whom she can transform into her “man-beast”. Once chosen, she has the victims on all fours, side by side, then proceeds to mount them so that she can ride them onto the stage. This in itself was no mean feat as the poor fellows had to navigate a set of stairs whilst balancing their precious cargo and barely concealing their embarrassment. Once on the stage, the man beast collective is asked to make sexy noises which I have to say were rather pitiful, but then, if you had a room full of people laughing at you, would you be feeling your sexiest? For that reason, I shall let the boys off!
It’s difficult to explain the show in its entirety without writing a novella but here goes. For an hour we are treated to a milieu of original songs, largely based around sex. In between songs we learn snippets of the pair’s life.
Although they are not a couple, they do share a bed in their East End bedsit. Throughout the evening VV is seen making her feelings toward BB very obvious even to the point that, after a blackout, the lights come back up only to find VV cupping BB’s breasts. This is painfully passed off as “Breast dusting”. Seems plausible!
There is an awful lot of audience participation too. Don’t think though that by sitting at the back you will go unnoticed, YOU WONT! You are at risk of being sat on, sang to, fondled or even kissed wherever you may be. One poor chap got dragged up on stage to be played with, and when VV thought that maybe he would scupper her chances with her beloved she immediately took him out of the auditorium. The next thing, we hear gunshots. He’s gone.
The show continues at a brisk pace as we are right back to the saucy songs. The show culminates with a surprise arrival on stage. There’s no spoilers here though, you have to see it to find out. As a finale, we are treated to a version of one of their most famous songs. For those of you who have seen them before, I shall refer to it only as “DW” (in case there are younger readers!)
In conclusion, if you feel like a gin-soaked, raunchy and downright hilarious night out then you must catch this talented couple whenever you can. With their glamour, incredible musical talent and impeccable comedy timing, it is a five star act not to be missed.
Review by Dickie Neil
Wed 1 – Sat 11 Oct, 9.30pm
£10 Wed 1 & Thu 2 Oct, £15 (£12.50) Fri 3 – Sat 11 Oct