Last week I went to see Cantina, a weird and wonderful vaudeville show which offered a good old-fashioned variety show of circus, burlesque, acrobatics, singing, gymnastics, dancing, magic, comedy and live music. What more could you want from a cabaret show?
The London premiere of the international smash hit is housed in an original 1920s Spiegeltent on the Southbank, at the Priceless London Wonderground as part of the Udderbelly Festival. For those lucky enough to have visited Edinburgh Festival (best place to spend August, right?) and seen acts at the Udderbelly or any late night shows at the Spiegeltent, you'll expect great things from both and the London festival line-up is similarly brilliant.
Cantina's glamorous, flamboyant cast include Australia's finest circus acts from La Clique, Acrobat, Circa and Circus Oz and their show left the audience gasping, laughing and gasping again. My favourite acts were Chelsea McGuffin tightrope-walking in heels (shame on the ladies who struggle on the street...) and contortionist Henna Kaikula and her incredibly, impossibly bendy body.
The traditional venue - complete with mirrors, spotlights, red velvet curtains and retro cocktail bars - lends a glamorous air to the event and, despite the show only running for a short and sweet 60 minutes, it makes for a great night out. Cantina is running all summer and if you like any or all of points a-i above, I suggest you visit.
**** "Cantina is the most divinely decadent and disconcerting entertainment in town" Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph
**** "Cantina is clearly the hottest ticket in town" Bruce Dessau, Evening Standard
runs 8 May - 30 September
E4 Udderbelly Festival at Southbank Centre, Jubilee Gardens, London, SE1 8XX