Friday, May 29, 2009


Copperdollar 23/5

The amazing Speakeasy at the Blind Tiger Club at the start of the festival set a high bar for cabaret nights – a venue transformed into a sleazy barely-legal dive with stuffed animals, a poker table, kissing booth (where I spent an almost indecent amount of time...) and ballsy house band. Trouble was, it was all a bit illegal and got raided and closed down....

But Copperdollar at the Black Lion rose to the challenge and met it with panache. I'd never normally set foot in the Black Lion, drinking in the Lanes being one step up from West Street, but the venue was rendered unrecognisable with Mexican Day of the Dead decorations, a coffin, giant skeleton and staff dressed in amazing Mexican outfits with painted skull faces.

Every aspect of the night had been thought through meticulously, with a house band playing amazing rock n roll versions of songs like Don't You Want Me and Stayin' Alive, and sporadic outbreaks of cabaret performance – two skeleton people dancing a raunchy tango, a funeral parade passing through, a conga snaking round the bar.

They call it 'immersive theatre' and that's a great description, happening all around you, constantly surprising and with attention to every last detail. It was just a pity that they only ran for two nights, but with the amount of work and participants involved, I don't really blame them. Copperdollar were worthy winners of Best Cabaret in the Latest Brighton Festival and Fringe awards, and I look forward to future events if they're only half as good as this one.

Oh- and the Blind Tiger Club didn't come away emptyhanded – they won Most Groundbreaking Event, so I hope to see them again soon too, when the dust has settled.


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