It’s always such a treat, a night at Proud. When we first got the invite I was dubious, not to mention confused, having read it as ‘Candy Kittens’. Balls, I thought, sadly : isn’t this a clothing and sweets range created by that knob off Made in Chelsea? Reader, fear not! My beady eyes were too quick. This is Killing Kittens, a much better name anyway, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Staggering over the Lock and into the Stables, I was transported back to the heady heights of my last visit, handcuffed to a chair and being paddled by a masked waitress. [The following morning, examining our receipts, we discovered to our surprise and bemusement that all the waitresses are called Lauren; all the waiters are called Lawrence. Edgy.] The new show promised ‘a window in to the exclusive world of whispers, that has taken London’s vice-driven nightlife by storm’ and boy, does it deliver. With all the sass of an eighteenth century courtesan but none of, you know, the clap, it packs the punches and writhes to the applause. It’s professional, joyful and classy. We had a jolly good evening, and here’s why:
Aside from the performers, it’s the setting that really makes Proud tick. Dark, richly ornate and dripping with opulence, Alex Proud has engineered the perfect environment, the most decadent atmosphere. As they enter, audience members each discover a working telephone on their table, with which to give oh-so-subtle tinkles to potential paramours. ‘Let’s do PRANK CALLS!’ shrieks my flatmate gleefully, before I, paragon of virtue and dignity that I am, reign her in and explain we are here on Very Important Bizznizz.
The ever-memorable Dolores Delight sashayed onstage – the evening’s commère, who fully commands the space and pulled us from one act to the next with sultry renditions of both classical and modern music. Ayesha H, Beau Rocks and Bettsie Bon-Bon added to a stellar line-up: a plethora of fox costumes (to the accompaniment of, you guessed it, ‘Foxy Lady’), feathers, latex and cigarettes. Proud, we hope, will continue to stock its rafters with increasing numbers of male acts if Go-Go Harder is anything to judge by. He brings his own unique New York flava to the boylesque scene; we were treated to a quite astonishing rendering of Carwash, complete with greasy overalls inevitably draped across choice members of the audience. A rather more, um, inventive use of the polaroid camera was employed; whilst we were impressed by the photo of ourselves, tonsils-deep in truffle mash, the act might feature rather less blood as it’s stapled to the performer’s body.
Go – for the laughter and the interaction, the energy behind each and every act, for the food. We agreed on almost exclusive deliciousness : Parma ham draped across asparagus with garlic mayo; a lovely citrusy pork belly; filet of beef – and don’t even get me started on the cocktails. If you’re after a foodgasm, you’ll have it here. Despite not being a die-hard cabaret fan myself I STILL had a ball. For sex that’s laced with humour, for good-natured, pally conviviality – head to the Cabaret old chum.