Cabaret Freaks at Halloween

Thu 27th – Fri 28th October 2011

reviews

Vicky Sheldon

at 02:34 on 28th Oct 2011

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With a few atmospheric touches the small, informal room at the top of the Landsdown pub is the perfect venue to house the Cabaret Freaks – Halloween Launch Special. Jake Wheeler, Rebecca Haselhurst and Jasmine Smart form the Cabaret trio in a hotch-potch performance which gives you everything it says on the tin – songs from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", "Jekyll and Hyde", "Sweeney Todd" (and any other West-End/Broadway hit which can be forced under the ambiguous title, world’s “darkest musicals”).

The first half opens with the aptly named song, “This is Halloween”, sung with such gusto and perfect diction it manages to overshadow the group’s eccentric (though utterly brilliant) costumes. The Cabaret Freaks are not alone in their performance and arguably the best act of the night “Miss Fay Greenhalgh” soon joins in the fun with a hilarious rendition of the little known “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park”. Miss Greenhalgh’s bawdy characterisation is sustained as she treats us to some black humour through a number of Tom Lehrer and Nellie Wallace classics. Lydia Wild also makes an appearance (perhaps attempting to give those in the front row the biggest scare of the night) performing a raunchy strip tease to three Marlene Dietrich songs in both German and English. The frivolities continue concluding with a scantily clad Jake performing some tentative choreography to “The Time Warp”.

The second half allows for some audience participation as Alan Conlon and Tom Hunt – professional jugglers – take to the stage. Their fifteen minute set includes several impressive/painful looking tricks, my favourites being Alan lying on a bed of nails whilst Tom perches on top of him casually juggling five balls and Tom juggling whilst he carries Alan on his shoulders and rides a unicycle. When the Cabaret Freaks return in the second half one can’t help but wonder if they have run out of “Halloween-esk” songs as the trio perform an energetic set including the “Elephant Love Medley”, from "Moulin Rouge", and “Poor Unfortunate Souls” – yes Ursula’s song from "The Little Mermaid". Nonetheless the entertainment continues culminating in a hilarious, if not slightly explicit, rendition of “Be a Dentist”. The last song – “Murder, Murder” brings us back to the theme of Halloween and enforces the notion that, whilst each member of the Cabaret Freaks is individually talented, they are arguably strongest when harmonizing effortlessly with each other.

There is no doubt that The Cabaret Freaks know how to entertain a crowd. For the price of a bottle of wine you can spend an evening preparing for Halloween by humming along to a few of the most infectious musicals around – they even toss in a free candy cane and a pair of fangs.

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