By Vanessa Barrett
We welcome the critically-acclaimed ‘King of Cabaret Noir’, Mr Joe Black, in his latest stage show offering Meet Me At The Eldorado. This pastiche vaudeville stage show with contemporary cabaret fringing is most definitely not one to miss. But first, let’s step back in time to the site of the original club.
The Eldorado was a legendary transvestite bar, a true forerunner in the golden age of the gay club scene in pre-WW2 Berlin. In its early days, focusing on the homosexual community, the venue was promoted as a ‘Meeting Place for the International World’. The Eldorado had a truly welcoming and open attitude toward sexual permissiveness and social acceptance across the board, and it rapidly embraced many players within the liberal and bohemian scenes. From there on, the club earned its historic place in gay club culture, recognised as a glamorous hangout for icons of yesteryear such as Marlene Dietrich and many, many more.
With a swoop of his fur-festooned costume, at home in the appropriate surroundings of Brighton’s Spiegeltent, Joe Black welcomes us into his very own modern reincarnation. Seamlessly sashaying throughout in his hilariously Disney villain-esque signature persona, the show stands as heady medley of decadence from the outset. From original songs to sinister covers with live piano accompaniment (by the talented Friederich Hollandaise) and impressive kazoo and saw playing, to absurdist jokes and a moving femme fatale homage, we’re taken on a tragic, glamorous rollercoaster.
This is not a show for those after easy, glittery spoon-fed cabaret. Instead, we are welcomed into a world that has been lovingly resurrected. Peppered with nonsensical ad-lib, dripping with brazen cabaret industry in-jokes and stamped with Joe Black’s trademark, invaluable comedic timing, Meet Me At The Eldorado is undisputedly a truly entertaining cabaret show, deep in honour and respect toward an iconic segment of LGBT and theatre history.
Meet Me At The Eldorado
24 May, 21:30
Review by Vanessa Barrett