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Cabaret XXL

Birmingham Rep Door

*****

BIRMINGHAM Rep scores another brilliant home run with their third Cabaret XXL featuring the outrageously brilliant talent of Jonny Woo.

Looking like a cross between Roy from Blade Runner and Alex from Clockwork Orange in sequins and red high heels, Jonny takes his submissive audience through a heady recollection of his clubbing days in Birmingham from 1990 to 1994.

There are moments of dark dramatic brilliance segued between the camp high kicks and glittery costumes.

Jonny began life some years back as a Drama student in Birmingham. Now, based in London, he has developed a widely acclaimed reputation for bringing alternative drag to more mainstream audiences and has been a regular performer on the cabaret scene since 2000.

The evening was not only about the main performance but began in the bar area with a taste of Bourgeois and Maurice, who themselves will be appearing with their own show at Cabaret XXL on 9th June.

The duo entertained everyone with some original songs whilst the audience members were willingly subjected to glittery face painting all courtesy of Sara’s Parlour.  Within a very short time the ice was broken and a party atmosphere broke out setting us all up for what was a first class night.

Jonny began with his recollections of his `party drug’ nights on the club and the rave scene of the early nineties around Birmingham. It was clear that several present on the night had been there too, with people filling in the DJs names and characters of that time when Jonny’s memory faltered a little. With his live pianist they churned out some singalong versions of the dance hits of the period. 

One section though descended into deep atmospheric theatre where he acted and performed against pre-recorded soundtrack, a memory, real or imagined, of one dark night after taking a more serious narcotic substance. It didn’t matter if the memories were genuine or not as the overall effect was powerful enough to keep the trip going.

With several thumping soundtracks in between the live piano and disco lighting, the club experience was complete. The audience were at several times the performers as Jonny tottered amongst us in a variety of daring costumes.

It seems the word is finally out as the attending audience to the Cabaret XXL nights have grown over the last three shows. The acts to this event so far have been outstanding and the Birmingham Rep continues to break new ground with this highly charged form of alternative entertainment.

Jeff Grant

31-03-16 

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