Last Friday, after my day of flyboarding and being stuck on South Western trains, I changed into my tux. Then Ms B & I checked out London Never Dies at the London Cabaret Club. The Club had offered us free Gold tickets to this Bond-themed show.
Silver, Gold, Diamond, and Royal
Gold tickets are the lowest category that include a full meal and they normally go for £90 per person. A rather reasonable price in our view for a three-course dinner and a show on the weekend in central London. Ticket prices range from £50 to £165.
No Slipknot or Slayer
Ellie has always loved everything that involves nights out with music and dance, no matter if opera, ballet, musicals, or cabaret, so she was understandably super-excited to get to see this acclaimed show. I on the other hand don’t mind a bit of music, preferably heavy metal.
Where are your troubles now? Forgotten!
That said, I will openly admit that I had to google what precisely ‘cabaret’ means. Ellie’s advice had simply been “you know, cabaret as in cabaret” while she did some dance moves and some serious pouting. In my mind the term denoted any type of show that involved sexy women in black swim suits with suspenders hopping around on the stage. Turns out that cabaret refers to entertainment held in a nightclub or restaurant while the audience eat and drink at their tables.
Victoria House on Bloomsbury Square is opposite the far end of Sicilian Avenue if you’re walking the two-minute distance from Holborn tube station. The well-dressed, good-looking, professional, and friendly staff immediately made us feel welcome when we reached the reception. Throughout the evening we were impressed by the great service. Nearly all reviews you find on the internet sing the same song of praise.
We were seated in the bar area and sipped our cocktails: London Never Dies and Coronation. The cocktails had no overwhelming fire power and no crazy twists, but tasted just fine. They come with a £15.50 price tag. A 15% service charge is added on top.
Pre-show entertainment at the bar
After a little while, a young lady in a stunning red dress stepped onto the small wooden podium. When she started to do her songs, Ellie couldn’t stop shazamming every last one of them. This was right up her alley.
Mingling with the stars, almost
The singer turned out to be the leading lady of the night. After a few songs the leading man of the night, ‘James Bond’, took over from her and performed some more songs.
Besides all the explosions and the fact that the 007 franchise is one of the few that makes do largely without German villains, one thing that fascinates me is how all the theme tunes are proper classics.
At around 8:15pm we were led to our table, one row away from the stage, that is located in the centre of the large art deco ballroom. We had initially wondered if it was going to be hot and stuffy with it being one of the hottest days of the year. However, the high ceilings and the well-maintained air condition ensured that the air in the room felt very fresh.
We sipped some prosecco (£10 per glass) and did some discreet people-watching while we waited for the show to begin. Many guests must have spent a fair bit of money and time to look their absolute best for the evening.
The Show Begins
At around 8:35pm the show began. Yes, there were a lot of sexy ladies dancing around in ever-changing outfits that at certain times didn’t differ too much from swim suits. But there was so much more. Some acting without dancing, a bit of plot, some excellent singing, state of the art acrobatic elements, a live dog, fabulous costumes.
Not just long legs
I should mention that by no means is London Never Dies aimed exclusively at the gentlemen. All those scantily clad females, international espionage, guns. The ladies in the audience had even more eye candy than us boys. Lots of firm male bottoms, six-packs, irresistible charms, the works. According to Ellie. And she’s got very high standards. Obviously.
The three-course meal
The first course arrived shortly after the show had begun. Timing of the main and dessert were nicely done, too, with the dessert arriving 20 minutes before the end of the last performance. As you would expect for an evening like this, the food won’t win any Michelin stars anytime soon. However, we enjoyed the meal. Ellie was very fond of the chicken that came as main. I rather liked the refreshing salmon starter.
Brushing shoulders with the performers
With the stage being in the centre of the room, the stars regularly move past the tables just inches away, which we found was a good thing. There are so many brilliant James Bond songs, we would’ve had a blast even if it were for the music alone. As expected the evening involved a lot of legs, glamour, style and erotic elegance.
Outstanding choreography and costumes
Unexpectedly, the outstanding choreography and costume design climaxed in a dance involving a group of female performers. Their outfits had thick white beautiful threads dangling from the shoulders. When the ladies rotated around the stage doing their dance moves, the threads rotated with them and the whole stage turned into a mesmerizing snow storm scenario.
Another scene of impeccable style was the one where the ladies wear tall golden hats that look like the sun. Throughout the night I liked those sections the best, where a hint of a plot and acting was added to song and dance.
Some of the acrobatic performances were top-notch, more like something you’d expect to see at a famous circus and not as mini-segment in a cabaret show that is mainly based on song and dance.
Huge hula hoop
My favourite was the dude that was rotating around the stage holding on to a giant, wooden hula hoop. At times the virtual axis he was rotating around was vertical, at times horizontal or at weird angles. Sometimes he made the hoop wobble and jump. Never was he more than a few inches from the edge of the small stage. Very little room for error, if he wanted to avoid ending up on someone’s plate. Some ladies probably wouldn’t have minded.
Firm bottoms and sixpacks
Ellie’s favourite was the handsome feller who mainly performed handstands in all conceivable variations, showing off his toned body, delighting the female audience and making blokes like me regret that we let ourselves go the way we did.
At the end of his segment, he puts little white bricks on the top of the two metal frame supported mini-platforms or handrests on which he does the handstands. Then he performs a handstand and some insane tricks on top of those bricks, before pushing the whole lot of bricks off the respective platforms. With nothing holding his weight, he starts falling, but catches his fall when his hands reach the handrests.
Not really acrobatic, but very impressive: Laser Woman. At first it looks much like any other laser show anyone has ever seen, the usual stuff. Green laser beams shooting from the ceiling down to the floor and forming a cylindric or cone-shaped cage around the actress.
Then she grabs two of the beams and suddenly holds them in her hands like two double-sides light sabres. She must have held little lasers in her hands, obviously, so the ingenuity behind this trick is perhaps not blowing anyone’s mind. However, the visual and the surprise effects are. The trick was performed with a high level of precision and style and really did the job for me. Very cool stuff.
A very fun evening
As soon as the show ends and the audience has finished clapping their hands, a DJ comes on stage and the audience is encouraged to dance, as long as everyone stays next to their table and sticks with their partner or group. Camden Council called the London Cabaret Club “the safest venue [they] visited” with regards to Covid-safety.
London Never Dies is scheduled to run until November. Many dates are already booked out. 4.5 out of 5 in our book.
Looking for more fun things to do in and around London? Check out our posts about the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the V&A (running until the end of this year), Frieze London 2021, London Symphony Orchestra’s go at Stockhausen, a very moving play about the hell of zero-hour contracts at The Royal Court, our ride on e-scooters, a rubber boat, a canoe, a helicopter, and that time we learned how to bake croissants.