Date Night #10: Life is a Cabaret


Ah date night. That wonderful night when you forget about the daily grind, the minutiae of Mondays, and remind yourself what a privilege it is to be travelling through life with someone special at your side. This one took place Proud Cabaret, in Camden…

Despite what you might have heard, I don’t tend to spend most Friday nights being ridden like a horse by a man I’ve just met in front of a room full of screaming, clapping people. Mind you, this was never going to be your average Friday night.

The problem with booking events in advance is that you never know what kind of a mood you’re going to be in on the day of the event. On this particular day, it had turned out to be a foul one. I’d had a miserable day at work, had just landed a massive tax bill, and now I was standing out in the rain waiting for My girlfriend V., who was 10 minutes late. And, it turns out, at a completely different tube station than the one we’d agreed to meet at. Not her fault partly, the trains were all over the place that day, but I was a grumpy arse, and we ended up having a row around my lack of impulse control, and her lack of attention to details. We stood outside the entrance sulking at each other, smoking soggy cigarettes in the rain, until we decided to go in. To be honest, a three course meal and two hour cabaret show seemed less than appealing at that point, and I just felt like hiding in bed with a duvet over my head, but y’know. We had tickets.

Or at least we sort of did. As we entered the foyer of Proud Cabaret in Camden, we had an increasingly confusing conversation with the girl on the door, as it became apparent that our reservation was nowhere to be seen. Eventually, I pulled out my phone to show the reservation and we discovered that it was in fact, a reservation for their sister location on the other side of London. Totally my fault, but Proud Cabaret were great about it, and they let us switch our reservation to Camden, as they luckily had one spare table – right next to the stage. Between the arguments and the kerfuffle getting in, it had all been a bit exhausting. “Well,” I said. “You might have gone to the wrong station, but I took us to the wrong venue entirely. I guess I shouldn’t really be lecturing people about attention to detail!” She laughed and suddenly all was right with the world.

After getting stuck into drinks and two delicious courses of food (V.’s fillet steak was particularly delicious) we sat back and soaked in the ambience. The Proud Cabaret cocktail is easy to mix; take two parts red velvet curtains, add a swirl of Édith Piaf, and sprinkle with a selection of lingerie-clad waitresses. Stir well.

Clearly some tables were already slightly drunk on this heady concoction – a table at the back (future Conservative MPs no doubt) were already hooting and hollering before the show had even started. Fortunately they were quickly destroyed with a single lash of the MC’s tongue within minutes of his arrival on stage, and they pretty much behaved themselves after that. And what an arrival it was; our host for the evening, Joe Morose sparkled into the room with a lusty performance of the Cole Porter classic ‘Let’s Misbehave’; albeit one with re-worked lyrics that were slightly salty to say the least. Once his big number was over, it didn’t take him long to spot me sitting right next to the stage.

“Oh look,” he squealed with delight while pointing at my hair. “It’s 49 shades of grey!” “I think I look more like a melting George Clooney” I retorted, and Joe cracked up.

“I like you!” He laughed.

Of course, no cabaret show would be complete without some burlesque, and all the performers Joe brought out that night were fantastic. Some fantastic (and frankly quite mind-boggling) belly dancing apart, the highlights were Miss Jolie Papillon’s dark gothic dance (accompanied, naturally, by ‘Cry Little Sister’ from the Lost Boys soundtrack) and Sophia St. Villier’s memorable performance as a PVC covered huntswoman, which got an extremely excited response from the would-be Riot Club at the back of the room. All the performances were tasteful with a glint of mischief, and it was clear that the artists loved the control they had over their audience.

And then it was time for the big finale, which, for reasons that now escape me (admittedly, this was largely due to the amount of excellent Espresso Martinis I’d had by this point) involved Morose leading me to the stage, placing me on all fours and then sitting on my back while singing his final number. I don’t think I’ve ever seen V. laugh more at anything ever, and while I was on all fours, watching her, I remember thinking that I never wanted to argue with her ever again. After all, from cradle to tomb isn’t that long a stay, so maybe life should be a cabaret.

If you’d like to experience Proud Cabaret for yourself (Don’t worry, Joe probably won’t sit on your back), you can book a three course dinner and show on their website.


Jon Hamblin writes ‘The Things I’ve Done To Impress Women”, an award winning blog that details his frequent failures to impress any women ever. Read about his other Date Nights here.

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