The Parisian underworld is on its way to London’s Southbank. The Crazy Horse has been delighting audiences in the French capital since 1951 with its unique mix of cabaret, seduction and sparkle, and now the best of burlesque is gracing our good city for the first time with a run from September until Christmas. In a bid to recreate the original venue’s magic, events big-man Harvey Goldsmith and his team are building this one from scratch just behind the National Theatre, with a great big stage, lamp-lit tables and shady booths galore. Expect reams of red velvet.
Yet this is more than just gimmick, I have to admit. There is a deep history behind The Crazy Horse with its dancers themselves the things of legend; did you know that they are all of uniform size and shape, kept in check with daily measurements? I defy you to take your eyes off them, be you man or woman. They’re not stick thin, not overly voluptuous, just amazingly well shaped and a little too perfect, topped off with platinum wigs and bright red lips. The numbers mix cliché with creativity to keep your attention, including songs you might expect to hear (‘But I am a Good Girl’ for instance) and costumes you might not; the ‘God Save Our Bareskins’ production has the girls trussed up in military boots, Scots Guard helmets and ponies’ manes with some handy lighting tricks comprising the rest. Oh and the lights. You’ll like the lights. They account for the majority of the attire onstage. There are high kicks, there are girls covered in glittery kisses, there are sneaky hands peeking around curtains and there is lots of fun to be had. For whatever reason, your eyes will be glued.
So if you’re tired of bunting, they’re billing this as the antidote to Jubilee and Olympic mania. And why not? Relinquish your flag and brandish a cocktail instead as you swap ceremony for striptease. The Crazy Horse is set to be the whisper of all good society come autumn and, since it most certainly won’t be around for ever, you’d best get a wriggle on. Girls’ night, date night, work do, random do – whatever you fancy – you can entertain guests here, you can escape here, you can taste gay old Paree here minus the cost of the Eurostar. Last performance is on Christmas Eve and you’ll never look at the Southbank in quite the same way again.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the website.