Cabaret Boom Boom

Cabaret Boom Boom might just be Walkley’s best kept secret. It’s evidently well known to local folk, but less so to those of us residing a mile or so away in deepest Crookes. On the third Saturday of certain months, Ruskin Hall (which also answers to the name of Walkley Community Centre) hosts an evening of “jaw dropping, eye popping, live entertainment”.

Cabaret Boom Boom has been playing to sell out audiences since 2005, but I only found out about it a few months ago when I spotted alleroo’s brilliant photos. However, actually getting hold of tickets proved a bit of a challenge – reservations are necessary because it always sells out well in advance.

To be honest, this appeared to be something of a relief to Mr TLC, who was not carried along on the wave of my wild enthusiasm. Instead of shouting “Oh yes! Hurrah!” when I suggested we go, he made a kind of strange feral whining noise and was heard to mumble something about “turns”, “working men’s clubs” and “never again”. The good news is that I decided to pretend I hadn’t heard him. Finally a date appeared when we were available – and so were some tickets. Oh yes! Hurrah!

Thus it was, that a month ago I dragged a slightly reluctant Mr TLC to our first ever Cabaret Boom Boom experience. And it was great fun. Even Mr TLC, predisposed as he was to be a tad fed up about the whole thing, clearly enjoyed himself.

There were three main acts, plus performances from the regular comperes who juggled, told stories, climbed through coat hangars and bantered with the good-natured crowd. Mysti Valentine was billed as a “diva with a difference”, a very apt description for Jenny Wilson’s faux queen character. Les Bubb delivered physical comedy as he wrestled with errant suitcases, surprisingly heavy balloons and runaway bottles.

For me, the star of the night was George Orange (aka George Fuller). He was described as a “slack rope fool” but the slack rope was only part of his act, his acrobatic skills also extended to climbing through very small hoops and performing a wonderfully silly dance that he introduced as “Duet for George and Bottle”.

To add to the general feeling of happiness induced by all this general silliness and mirth, there’s a bar and it sells Pale Rider.


Video from George Fuller (aka George Orange)

There’s no mystery as to why this event sells out so quickly, or why it isn’t widely advertised. It’s great. No wonder people keep coming back for more. Even Mr Grumpy Mr TLC enjoyed himself. So I was straight on the phone to that reservation hotline just as soon as it reopened and yesterday evening, we were back.

This time Matt Black entertained with lovely poems. Lush Bijou caused Mr TLC to choke on his beer when they performed a “traditional English folk song from the last century”, which turned out to be a rendition of the Buzzcocks Ever Fallen in Love – in the style of Edith Piaf. Brilliant. London based, but apparently unGoogleable, Two for Tea performed madcap magic and obligingly soaked the front row with a rather gushing teapot. There are advantadges to ending up at the back, especially when you are next to the bar πŸ™‚

Finally Nakupelle amazed us with their masks and puppetry. I was expecting puppets on strings, but their “Baggies” were huge tubes of folded fabric with masks. The performers were actually inside them, giving a performance that was both elegant and funny. (They also made for an interesting Google experience. Apparently Nakupelle means Naked Fool. Good job I didn’t try that one at school.)

There isn’t another Cabaret Boom Boom until January 2009, but tickets will go on sale before Christmas. However the reservation hotline is being retired and tickets for the whole season of Cabarets will be sold at Daisy Chain in Walkley and Jack’s Records.

My advice: get there quickly, I will.

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