Cabaret. What does the word mean to you? Perhaps it’s Liza Minnelli in a bowler hat and suspenders. Or can-can dancers in fin-de-siècle Paris. Or a crooner in a 1950s’ New York supper club.
Perhaps it means a scene that’s preserved in aspic, a historic curiosity, a dead art form. Well, if so, it’s time to reconsider.
A cabaret revival has been throbbing in London for several years now. From the scruffy environs of the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club to the opulence of the Café de Paris near Piccadilly Circus, sizeable crowds gather most nights of the week somewhere in the capital to take in a variety show. And now the performance art has been included as a separate category on this month’s Edinburgh Fringe programme for the first time. Cabaret is no dusty tin of preserved fruit – it’s fresh, ripe and bursting with flavour.
So what is …