Sunday, August 5, 2012
Boom Boom Club, 2nd August
I was incredibly impressed with the Wonderground setup in general. I expected something a lot flimsier. The show was held in the spiegeltent, which looked like a big red top once inside, with a stage at the back, and a bit of a catwalk leading to a circular stage at the front where the performers did their stuff. We ended up sitting beside the catwalk – I had faith that they wouldn’t have an in-the-round setup if they weren’t good at performing in the round, and on the whole they were, but I think sitting facing the stage probably would have been a tad better. Some of the performers, such as Pirate Phil (an ex-banker who had seen the light and told us about it in song) and the kitty cat – a striptease artist, did roam the audience somewhat, but being nearer the stage and at the front, all in all was beneficial.
The show is very polished, the performers are top class. It’s visually impressive with some great costumes – and it’s sexy. Unfortunately no photography was allowed so you have to go see it yourself to see what I mean.
There was a very loose backstory which tied the acts together and also gave their actions some purpose. The night was called Prospero’s Tavern and the people who came on stage were either regulars of the Tavern or connected to Prospero (of the Tempest fame) in some way. For example, Miranda, his daughter, who was ‘drunkenly’ heckling Prospero for the first half of the act, was allowed to come on stage and ‘embarrass herself’. And of course, being intoxicated, she was stumbling and falling all over the place, the perfect ruse to allow her to twist and turn herself inside out, for she was in fact a contortionist. Or when a quarrel broke out between two sailors who incorporated their acrobatics into their choreographed fight. They deftly swore at and punched each other in between somersaults and some very impressive balancing acts.
There were a couple of amusing songs and even a singalong at one point. The hour went by far too quickly. I could really see why the Boom Boom Club has the reputation it does and I imagine most other acts I will see of this ilk will pale in comparison. Certainly those I’ve seen before so far do not even hold a candle to this. I am going to La Reve next week though, who have been going for quite some time and also have a very good reputation so we shall see how they compare.
One of the highlights for me was ‘The King’ hula hooping to some of his greatest hits. This doesn’t sound like much but I was transfixed by what this tubby little guy dressed a bit like Elvis could do with a hoop. Did I say ‘a’ hoop? I mean several hoops at the same time, even manipulating them to start at his waist and then travel off in different directions. His finale was to hoop with upwards of 20 all at once! He looked like a giant slinky. I fear I am not doing this act justice but it was jaw dropping.
I was also completely seduced by the woman who performed one of the burlesque stripteases. Or, rather, I should say, the woman who was stripped and molested by the possessed hand that tormented her. I think this probably needs explanation. Through a clever fake appendage, she made it look like her hand was a severed malevolent being (like an evil version of Thing from the Addams Family) which was attacking her – first it was being a bit of a sex pest, groping her here and there, then it took an even more sinister turn, choking her to the ground and then reviving her with a tickle to her nether regions. It was funny, creepy, weirdly convincing, and she was utterly gorgeous.
After the show is over, you are all invited to clear out so they can move the chairs away, and then you’re called back in for the ‘after party’ should you wish to stay. This only happens after the Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances and is an extra £5. It might be very different on a Friday or Saturday when people don’t have work to think about the next day, but the majority of the audience last night did not return for the afterparty and the atmosphere was muted. Most of my group wanted to stick around though - after all, we had paid the extra and we were promised live music and two more performers who hadn’t been in the show. We danced around a bit to the music, even though few others did, watched the other two performers (a fire hula-hooper, and a girl doing swinging hoop acrobatics) and stayed until the last song. Overall though, I wouldn’t say you should feel hard done by if you happen to go on a night when the afterparty isn’t an option.
If you like this kind of stuff, you will love the Boom Boom Club. And if you don’t, you should still go – this might change your mind. Brilliant.