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BWW Review: CABARET ALL STARS, Proud Embankment

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Kerry Ellis will be joining the cast of Cabaret All Stars and headlining an evening of circus and cabaret on Fridays in October and November.

BWW Review: CABARET ALL STARS, Proud EmbankmentBWW Review: CABARET ALL STARS, Proud Embankment

Proud Embankment's Cabaret All Stars has a new addition to their cast, West End star Kerry Ellis. Ellis will be headlining this glamorous evening of circus and cabaret on Fridays in October and November, performing alongside critically acclaimed Cirque du Soleil acts.

Split up into three separate sections, Cabaret All Stars features a range of performers; from fire-eaters and drag acts to burlesque dancers, acrobats and singers. While the line-up does change slightly depending on the night you attend, you're guaranteed to have an entertaining evening whoever you see, as the calibre they've booked to perform is extraordinary.

From the moment you step into Proud Embankment, you are treated to pre-cabaret music from Jack Feureisen. His Jamie Cullum-like tones fill the room and instantly settle you into this Gatsby-esque world - introducing any newbies to cabaret and creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Ellis is the perfect headliner: friendly, funny, knows how to interact with the crowd and keep the show running smoothly at the same time. She's a sublime co-star too: when she performs alongside other acts, she doesn't take the limelight away from them, but during her solos she commands the stage and has the audience in the palm of her hand. Her powerhouse vocals particularly shone through during her rendition of "This Is Me", which really made you realise how much you've missed seeing her on the West End stage over the past six months.

Velma Celli was also on hosting duties and musical numbers in the first section. It was nice to know there was probably a RENT reunion backstage with Ellis, since they performed in the show together back in 2013. Celli's intense interactions with the audience provided a lot of laughter, and her comedy number where she improvised iconic divas showed both her impressive singing ability and effortless comic timing.

Marie Devilreux, a burlesque dancer who also performs fire and high aerial stunts, was a real highlight of the show. Her routines were mesmerising to watch, with a mixture of sexiness and danger - as she performed high in the air (and, in one case, on fire) in just her lingerie.

Providing the comedy element to the evening's proceedings were J'adore La Vie and Pi the Mime. J'adore La Vie are a hilarious double act whose creativity shone through during their "sisters" routine, where they played squabbling siblings trying to outdo each other on stage. Pi the Mime, whose look was inspired by Charlie Chaplin, was intelligently entertaining, combining old-fashioned music and current chart hits to reinvent a classic comedy icon. Pi's make-up is also worth praising, as the seamless contouring to create the Chaplin look was memorising to observe.

Another highlight was Shade F, who performed fire tricks with an incredible sleight of hand that was as gorgeous to watch as it was terrifying in places. Both his solo performance and his racy duet with Devilreux showed amazing craftsmanship and talent to create his magical flaming routine.

However, Shade F wasn't the only act who knew how to command fire. Leonie Alert's finale performance, where she created huge hoops of flames over her head using a lyco cane, was a show-stopping number that won't be forgotten in a hurry.

Jessicats - whose act involved pretending to be a drunk rocker, complete with studded leather jacket - was a mix of humour and high-energy dancing with a unique twist of being an "out of control" character, but who was also sultry and hypnotising to watch.

There's clearly a lot of work behind the scenes to make this show both successful and safe for everyone involved. So a particular mention should go to the stage manager, Tamasin Cook, who spent the entire show running around picking up discarded items of clothing, setting up stunts and generally keeping everyone, from the acts to the audience, having the safest and most fun possible. It's an underestimated and vital role, and for the show to run as smoothly as it did is a credit to her and the rest of the team's work.

The venue creates a believable vintage atmosphere, having had a huge makeover to increase capacity and ensure maximum social distancing is possible. Upon entering you are completely transported to a 1920s cabaret bar, complete with (masked) dancers in glittery costumes and feathers. Such attention to detail makes all the difference to a show like this, and allows you to be fully immersed in a world that's so different to present day.

If that wasn't enough, you don't just get a spectacular show for the price of a ticket. You also get a three-course meal provided by head chef Antonio Vacca, and a welcome cocktail. The menu complements the show, with perfectly presented food that tastes as good as it looks.

Cabaret All Stars is a unique and highly entertaining show with jaw-dropping acts, unbelievable stunts, glamorous performers, and an unbeatable atmosphere.

Tickets for Cabaret All Stars can be purchased on proudcabaret.com

Photo credit: James Everett


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From This Author Eleni Cashell