Be upstanding for the fabulous Night of the Blue Stockings! We were lucky enough to go and see this popular and busy evening of cabaret and burlesque performance held monthly at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club last Thursday night, and what a glittering, fun-packed show it was. A host of hilarious acts with a warmth and sense of joy that would be hard-pressed to better, captivated their appreciative crowd.
Our honorary Madam Chairperson for the evening was reigning Alternative Miss World 2009 and London’s Top Tranny 2010, Fancy Chance. Keeping things swinging, with her humour and audience interaction, she MC’d throughout the night between the other great acts on offer. She also delighted us with her own revolutionary act, taking us all the way from North Korea’s national anthem to good ol’ Yankee capitalism via an outrageously funny dance and rhythmic gymnastic display that had the audience on their feet and wanting more.
First act up was Justin Pants, with his alternative burlesque Action Man strip. If you ever wondered what Action Man keeps under his pants, well, yes, it is a weird, plastic non-penis. A very clever take on male stripping! Next up was Honey Wilde, the fantastic burlesque artist, with an avant-garde, in the most tongue-in-cheek way, musical performance of inventive cover versions of some 80s electro classics. Never before have two (yes, TWO!) toy pianos and a kazoo (!) sounded so good. The crowd both recognised and loved her amusing renditions of tunes by A-Ha, the Pet Shop Boys and others. Laurie Anderson could learn a thing or two.
All the way from 1933, Depression era Kentucky (kinda), came songstress Miss Anna Kronist. Playing her guitar and singing quite beautifully, she entertained us with her songs about love, death and a Blondie cover in the style of down home Americana. A wonderful musical moment. She was followed by Misster Blanche Dubois, who was somehow able to blend drag with a lion costume! Singing ‘La Vie En Rose’ in an operatic, lionesque (trust me) chanteuse way, he then transformed into a kinky, burlesque striptease. The audience bellowed with laughter as we were treated to what a ‘naked’ lion can do.
The Madam Secretary of The Blue Stocking Society is Audacity Chutzpah, and, as her name suggests, she certainly had plenty of both and more besides. She amused and delighted the house with a very witty sketch about being stuck on a desert island. It was an inventive and engaging act, which had the audience in stitches. Ending with a sing-along, in which we all happily joined in, this was a fantastic evening.
With tea and cakes on offer (a nice little touch) and DJ Josephine Shaker playing a suitably impressive selection of retro sounds in keeping with the ambience of the night, a very enjoyable and entertaining night was had by all. The lack of any pretension, the engaging nature of all the performers, and the unique blend of inventiveness and hilarity on offer, makes this a night out I can not recommend highly enough.