There’s honestly very little funnier than awkward suburban dads getting flirted with by overly ostentatious female performers. Especially when they’re dressed in tiny scraps of clothing. Brits are awkward, and then there are suburbanites that get dressed up to go into London to see a cabaret show. They are awkward.
At new London cabaret venue Wonderville, in the building formerly known as Planet Hollywood at Piccadilly Circus, you could jab away at the tension with a knife, but you couldn’t cut through the thick buttresses of discomfort no matter how hard you tried.
It’s credit to Wonderville creative director Laura Corcoran of duo Frisky & Mannish, as well as magic consultant Chris Cox that the audience are convulsing. They have concocted a diverse line-up of acts per night, and they all perform on a pleasingly archaic-looking cabaret stage, with an old-fashioned stage curtain controlled by hand by a pulley.
We might be in the heart of the West End, but the Wonderville setting gives off the impression of being somewhere more fringe. It’s intimate, and acts perform feet away from the crowd and walk among them freely.
Acts range from acrobatic hoop spinners to comedians doing tricks with Maltesers to traditional magicians cutting people in half and making them levitate. The latter may sound cliche, but seeing it live, it’s clear why this stunt is still so popular: it’s honestly impossible to work out how they do it.
Some guests are former Britain’s Got Talent stars and others are recognisable names from the capital’s cabaret circuit.
Acts at Wonderville change regularly, but have a mainstream appeal to cater to the types of people looking to be entertained in this part of town. Wonderville won’t be for those looking for more avant garde or experimental cabaret, but there’s east London’s drag bars and the Royal Vauxhall Tavern for that: this is cabaret for the masses, and it’s a perfectly decent night out.