Monday, 29 July 2013

Showgirl Showtime

Another busy week in showgirl land! I've been to see a couple of shows, performed in a couple of shows and worked on an exciting new show! Woop!

Mat Ricardo's London Varieties

On Wednesday I went to see Mat Ricardo's final London Varieties show, which was great fun. I especially enjoyed 'Ray Guns Look Real Enough' and Heather Holliday, and of course, Mat getting a custard pie in the kisser! Heehee...

Thursday to Saturday I was performing at the beautiful, intimate Privee Lounge in Knightsbridge, singing and dancing, which was fab - here's a couple of snapshots of the various shows...

Solo Mirror Picture!

Watching guest acts wow the crowd

Tami and Sweet Pea!

I was also working on a new project - I can formally announce it in the next few weeks but here's a sneak peek of what I'm up to...

And that's it for now!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Warm and Wet...

Haha - I know it's a massively misleading blog title! I'm not going to apologise though :P

It's been a very busy, very hot week - so, working backwards: Saturday was a truly fabulous day as I travelled up to Leeds for The Wet Spot (see, the blog title *did* have a purpose!)

Cracking line-up!

I had a wonderful time: the line-up was fabulous and included some of my favourite performers and favourite people! The audiences at The Wet Spot are always wonderful and welcoming, and I love performing at this amazing show.

It was also lovely to meet up with some old friends from Leeds and have a long, long overdue catch up. Although my favourite part of the evening was the regular Wet Spot attendees arriving with little knitted doppelgängers in honour of Leggy Pee and Charlie!

Watching Joe Black performing from the wings

Thursday and Friday were also equally busy; I have a little part time job at the gorgeous Dancia International store in Covent Garden, and both nights, after leaving work, I was performing at Privee Knightsbridge. This intimate little supper club is absolutely beautiful and I love performing there for the small but perfectly formed audiences.

Lovely Privee

Also this week I have been working on a couple of secret (for now!) projects that will be announced properly in the next week or so! It's very exciting and marks a few new directions and adds a few new strings to my bow.

Sneak peeks of my new projects...

And that's that for now!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Heat Wave

Well this has been a glorious week! I have been loving this beautiful weather we're having!

A couple of sweltering performances this week: a private party in Surrey and two shows at two of my favourite venues - Proud City and Volupte Lounge!

I actually really like this picture! With Bettsie Bon Bon

The crowd was quite small but absolutely wonderful - helped by a dozen of the staff from Proud Camden rocking up for a party! 

Mirror Pictures! With Abi Collins ** With Bettsie Bon Bon

After a couple of sweltering days I took myself off to Volupte Lounge for their Saturday afternoon Voluptease - again the audience was small but perfectly formed and gave all the performers such a wonderful reception.

Mirror Picture! With Kiki Kaboom and Jolie Papillon

My favourite point of the day was the fact that I was singing, not dancing, so I didn't have to worry about corsets, gloves, boas or pasties! Woop!

Drinking white wine in the sun...

In the evening I was lucky enough to have been given tickets to the ballet! Myself and a couple of friends went to the gorgeous London Coliseum to watch the Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet perform Coppelia: I can't say it was the best production I've ever seen - while I can't fault the incredibly high standard of dancing, and the solos and duets were incredible, I thought there were some very odd, poor choices of choreography for the corps and company scenes. I didn't particularly like some of the costume choices, although the sets were wonderfully epic. The story has been slightly changed and a lot of cuts made to turn the three act ballet into two acts which makes parts of it seem slightly rushed - however, it was a lovely way to pass an evening!

Coppelia at the London Coliseum

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Hair Today

This isn't so much a blog as an observation that's too long and convoluted to put into a Facebook status!

So, those of you who either know me in real life or follow this blog will know that I have had a *lot* of hair colours and styles. I blogged about it last year. I also adore wigs and hair pieces and usually wear one when performing...

Short blonde ** Long blonde

Short brunette ** Long brunette

I've noticed that, usually, I get much more attention - both male and female - when I have long hair, whether I wear it down or have it pinned up or in a headscarf: people smile at me more, are more considerate, presume I am younger and are generally friendlier.

Short hair/No make-up: Only on a day off! 
Short hair/Full make-up: Heading for a day out, or going around town
Long hair/No make-up: On my way to a show or shoot
Long hair/Full make-up: On my way to shows/shoots or a night out

For example, a couple of weeks ago I was heading to work then to a show: I had short hair, day make-up and a large, heavy suitcase. The attendant at the train station told me he couldn't help me with my case up and down the many flights of stairs, no one else offered help, even to the point of getting huffy with me if they perceived me and my suitcase to be in their way. Yesterday I was heading to a show, with long hair but no make-up - the attendant at the station helped me with my case, someone on the busy train gave up their seat for me and the man at the coffee booth gave me a free coffee. 

I have many more instances of things like this happening, and I'm positive it has happened to other ladies too.

Why is this? Why the difference in reaction purely down to hair length? I wear the same clothes and make-up regardless of hair length - I don't treat people any differently when I have long hair compared to short, so why do people treat me differently?

Have any of you half-wig/wig/hairpiece wearing ladies noticed this too? What are your thoughts on it?

Monday, 1 July 2013

London Festival of... What?

So, London is hosting its 'first' Festival of Cabaret... this is wonderful: it will be a massive platform and boost to the thriving London cabaret scene. Or at least it would be if it wasn't completely comprised of Musical Theatre performers and Comedians.

One of the festival headliners is the television personality Alexander Armstrong - he is even advertised on the festival website as 'Cabaret newcomer'. How can someone who has never performed in a cabaret show before be suitable to headline an international festival? Oh, that's right, because he's been on the telly and therefore will pull in audiences who don't really have any idea what Cabaret is or can be, and will be treated to a plethora of one-man or one-woman shows featuring Jazz and Musical Theatre standards with a bit of banter and some lame jokes thrown in.

Okay, so: Cabaret literally means "entertainment that breaks down the 'fourth wall'  in a venue where food and drink is served." So, yes, what the London Festival of Cabaret is offering is definitely covered by the umbrella term of Cabaret; the one man show is a mainstay of the cabaret industry (Dusty Limits, Sarah Louise Young, Mat Ricardo... the list goes on), to label this event 'The London Festival of Cabaret' is wrong. How can a festival featuring only one aspect of the cabaret genre claim to represent the entire scene?

Where are the Cabaret superstars? Meow Meow, Frisky and Mannish, Lady Rizo and all of the other hard-working, internationally known names associated with cabaret? I understand the lure of having 'names' such as Elaine Paige and Maria Friedman, but surely place them alongside those who have created and nurtured the cabaret industry to the level we are at, to the level that warrants its own festival, rather than jumping on the coat-tails of the newest buzz word.

The festival website claims that it will "[place] London as a world leader in this unique art form." I'm sorry, but last time I checked, London was already a world leader in this unique art form, thanks to the hundreds of performers working in a cabaret circuit they created.

This festival is pretty much a kick in the teeth to the London cabaret scene, and has ruffled plenty of feathers. The performers who work, day in and day out to pull the cabaret genre out of the underground and combat the idea of the media that cabaret is something old men with single keyboards do at holiday parks in backwater seaside towns.

I have a good friend who has worked for many years on cruise ships: he gets paid a couple of hundred pounds a week extra to perform a 'cabaret' show: he sings a bit of jazz, some musical theatre songs, chats with the old dears in the audience enjoying their dinner, and buggers off. I also have friends who work as variety performers and often do 'fly-in' shows on board cruise ships. When I questioned my friend on the possibility of taking a variety show on board a cruise ship to perform as the cabaret, he told me it would be impossible and ridiculous as what I was suggesting was 'not cabaret'. He went on to say (after a very heated debate) that my "definition of cabaret was obviously not the industry standard" and ooh, how I got on my high horse then.

Unfortunately, this festival seems to prove this narrow viewpoint correct: the wider theatre industry in the UK considers this one particular style to be 'Cabaret' in its entirety.

I doubt the organisers of the festival will particularly listen or care. The festival seems to have been created as a publicity machine for some of the West End stars, using well known, household names to sell tickets and make money rather than to promote and publicise the burgeoning Cabaret scene itself. I would love to see them consider the viewpoints of the many raised voices speaking out about this: perhaps by putting on some bona-fide Cabaret stars alongside their 'names': by featuring many of the wonderfully talented variety, circus and burlesque performers who comprise the *true* London cabaret industry.

And if not - why not put on our own?!

London Festival of Cabaret -
Festival Twitter Feed -

New Experiences

Back in January, I promised myself this would be a year of new experiences... and I certainly lived up to that this week!

Earlier in the week I met up with one of my best Burlesque friends, Glorian Gray, and headed across to Queensway Ice Rink... Having not been ice skating for around fifteen years I wasn't even expecting to be able to stay upright but I amazed myself by the end of the session by learning how to (briefly) skate on one leg, go round in a spiral, and (sort of) skate backwards!

Off Ice Skating with Glorian Gray

A couple of days later I achieved a New Years Resolution I had made myself in 2012 - I hosted a show! I have wanted to host for a long time but it's a difficult thing to get into: a host is the most important part of a show as they hold everything together, get the audience on side, make sure everyone is prepared for each act and be an entertainer themselves. While there are newcomer nights for performers, there are no such nights for hosts, so it's very much a 'sink or swim' situation.

While I have no problem singing on stage, I've always been reluctant to speak as I hate the sound of my own voice - I feel like I sound like a posh twelve-year old! However I am never one to shy away from a challenge so when I was offered the opportunity to host a Friday night at the gorgeous Privee Knightsbridge, I grabbed at it with both hands!

Mirror Picture! With Victoria at Privee

I'm not going to say I was perfect, because obviously I wasn't, but you know what - I did okay! I had a few stomach churning moments; being told by a table of women to 'F**k off' halfway through a song, and no one standing up for the planned audience participation - and I will admit that those moments really threw me. However for the most part everyone seemed to enjoy the show - my songs went well, I remembered everything I'd planned to say and surprised myself by actually being a little bit funny! I even had a couple of people after the show ask for my business card with regard to booking me for their company corporate parties!!

And that's about it for this week - I'll leave you with a couple of my favourite pictures from a recent shoot with Taz Zebrowski Photography.