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Decades: Burlesque through the ages

Laura Davis

Sofa Group 1 300x193 Decades: Burlesque through the ages

This quirky idea for an evening’s entertainment takes the audience on a tour of burlesque from the 1920’s until present.

It’s held at the most lavish of the Proud venues at Proud Cabaret in the City, modelled on a 1920s Berlin speakeasy. (Not at Proud Camden, as I rather embarrassingly found out.)

It’s a wonder how in this economy the Proud group has managed to expand, with this reasonably new venue and Proud2 taking over Matter at the O2 in the last few years.

Alex Proud founded the company in 1994 after a stint dealing Japanese art and raising money by selling Rolls Royces to the Russian Mafia. This colourful background clearly bodes well for entertainment, as the various venues seem to be going strong and drawing in crowds.

DECADES takes onlookers on a tour of glamour, swing, jive and rock – of course with appropriate costumes and songs to punctuate each era. Dancers weave through the tables, playfully grabbing men (more often than not the wives pretend not to mind…) and involving the audience.

The three-course meal is delectable, and it was impressive how the waiters and waitresses avoided any awkward collisions with nipple tassles flying in the air.

Refreshingly there are two lead male dancers – Jonathan Finch and Oli Norfolk – whose flexibility and strength are finally shown off in one of the last numbers where they come together for a dramatic routine, making them stand out arguably the most talented members of the cast.

The female dancers have quick costume changes and perform their routines with gusto. Although not with impeccable timing, the various dances – from the swinging sixties to a Madonna tribute in the eighties – are all enjoyable. At points they are background movement to the meal, with a couple emerging as the more tantalising.

Coco Dubois is the sassy compère for the evening, seamlessly guiding onlookers through the ages and keeping everything together, whilst tempting guests to join her into the next decade, before finally the audience to join her and the performers for a dance in the here and now.

DECADES runs at Proud Cabaret until 29th November

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