Paradise Palms (Venue 411)
Aug 4, 7-11, 14-18, 21-25
Paradise Palms plays host to the craziest filthiest any-hole-will-do cabaret variety night.
The demonically delicious Pollyfilla manifests to work their crowd into a lather and is spectacular. They look like they’ve been weaned off Ereshkigel’s own tit and has ascended through the seven gates of the underworld just to host this show. They are Lilith, Hekate and Muse every night Sunday through Thursday. There is no debasing them, for they are glorious in their torn lace, jockstrap, corset and roadkill wig. They will engage in any act and transcend shame. Their human birth parents are sat behind me this night in full loving support of their offspring. Good wholesome family values.
Another Goddess, Desert Storm in Cleopatra drag (well, she is the queen in residence here) camps it up to Pulp’s Common People and keeps everyone entranced. Guest spots include the gorgeous gender neutral concubine pirate extraordinaire, Mawaan Rizwan whose set has awakened in me a whole new appreciation for baby wipes, Jeu Jeu La Foille’s whiskey-soaked spoken word burlesque skit gives us chills. The Alpine Sisters of Fury and Hate use Tammy Wynette’s Stand By Your Man as a soundtrack for mariticide and Sam Reynolds completes the guest spot with a lip synch strip that is a delight to behold.
Normally I wouldn’t look so closely at the visiting support acts for a cabaret variety night. But these shooting stars are core to Pollyanna’s ethos of being an intimate testbed cabaret. You don’t have to have a show to take part, you can present something raw and entertaining, powerful and unpolished. The crowd is thirsty for kinky, fun, perv-positive acts.
It’s hard to spotlight one part of the show but by a narrow margin it’s Pollyfilla’s Brexit The Musical, where 5 volunteers from the audience take on masks of political heavyweights and are directed to frolick inappropriately on stage, whilst cheered and jeered as they play their parts. Watching it we all know where that Euro flag is getting planted and we’re not let down.
This is the second time I’ve been in, the first I arrived too late to see much. But with people like Rory O’Neill (Panti Bliss) being in both times and Bourgeois & Maurice in the audience, this is clearly a highly regarded and valuable offering on the alternative cabaret scene. I find myself sitting chatting to Paula Varjack who has performed there a few times and has just come from judging a BBC Poetry Slam, while the cast of A Boy Named Sue lounge and writhe around us.
It’s a show, a happening and a movement. Your life is poorer for not having been yet.