Share this:

Martha D’Arthur presents their June selection of the UK’s finest cabaret and drag.

Hello there! Martha D’Arthur here, and I’m proud to be your QX Cabaret and Drag Correspondant!

Each month, I plan to bring you a selection of my own personally curated drag cabaret excellence that I think most of you would enjoy. I will also make a slightly more niche choice as I explore and push myself to discover more about what London has to offer!

Pride Drag

Saturday 29th June sees London celebrate pride. And while there are many special events and performances taking place…. if you’re a drag fan, there are a couple of places where you’ll see more drag than anywhere else! In the heart of Soho, you’ll find shoulder-to-shoulder revellers, the Pride cabaret stage in Dean Street and the iconic Admiral Duncan, where you’ll find a full day of drag performers giving you their artistry nonstop from early afternoon until close. 

However, if the sheer volume of people partying in Soho is a red flag for you, then right next to Trafalgar Square is Halfway II Heaven and the famous basement bar, which will also be playing host to more acts than you can shake a flag at starting early in the afternoon and running well into the night. Boasting an upstairs bar and space to breathe, drink and socialise in the street, you’re also within earshot of the Trafalgar Square main stage. But I estimate you’ll find a combined tally of more than 30 acts between these two venues!

East London

The Karaoke Hole is the cheeky little sister of a well-known popular bar, the Dalston Superstore. They play host to London’s maddest drag creatures for special nights of karaoke chaos Thursday through to Saturday, and their “kitsch-as-hell” cocktails are very popular, indeed! They regularly have special events and themes, too, and if you’re quick, you can catch Barbs for her “Lord Of The Sings – a Night at the Movies” on Thursday 30th, May. www.thekaraokehole.com (tickets from £5)

West London 

The West London Queer project isn’t based in one particular venue but holds various events in various locations, many with a drag show around West London for some light socialising and revelry. On Saturday, 8th June, you can join them in Hammersmith, where they are holding a 10k walk and celebration in aid of motor neurone disease. Suppose you wanted to take part in the beautiful Thames sidewalk. In that case, it should take about 2 hours, and it all finishes at the Black Lion in Hammersmith, where your ticket also gets you a flag cape, a medal, a meal and a pint and entertainment with Beary Poppins, Luna Cortez and Mahatma Khandi. Check out www.wlqp.org for complete listings and details of their events.

Cabaret Roulette

Cabaret Roulette has been recommended to me by a few people, and the theme chosen by their last audience for the next night is Dungeons and Dragons. It’s on 20th June at a secret location in London and will star the likes of Dosa Cat, Fabio Lezonli and Freida Slaves, to name just three of the 8 performers advertised. You can expect a rich display of styles and disciplines from kings and queens and things in a night of bold risks, daring experiments and chaotic cabaret. Go and check them out by order of Grand Master Martha. You can find them on Instagram at @cabaretroulette or www.outsavvy.com/organiser/cabaret-roulette

Street party on 22 June

The summer highlight of the Clapham calendar is the Two Brewers Street party on Saturday, 22nd June. With more than 20 acts taking to the stages, 5 DJs, outdoor bars and food stalls, it’s always a fantastic event and a gorgeous atmosphere. No pre-booked tickets; it’s simply a £10 on entry, but get there early to avoid the queue! Entry is at midday, outdoor entertainment till 9:30, and the party continues indoors till 4am!!! Check out The Two Brewers on Instagram and Facebook for details.

A City in Seconds

Even the most dedicated Londoner occasionally travels outside Zone 6. Now, I travel A LOT, so each month, I’m going to give you a city in seconds, primarily to highlight where to go for cabaret should you ever visit!

First up…. I give you Southampton. For the odd-ticketed special event, keep an eye on the Stage Door Theatre, as they’re no stranger to Drag events of all kinds, including brunches, drag race stars, and drag king and queen cabaret events. The Edge and Box Bar is a dedicated LGBTQ+ bar and nightclub, and you’ll see some queens there regularly hosting karaoke and games nights, but they don’t really cater for “cabaret.” 

For pure drag cabaret, there’s really only The London Hotel, where you’ll find drag acts at least 4 nights a week, with Bingo and Quizzes and cabaret shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, bringing you some of the best acts in the country.

Cabaret Venue of the Month.

Finally, let’s profile a cabaret venue in London for you every month.

This month, I decided to visit somewhere I’d never performed but I used to visit regularly years ago. The Phoenix Arts Club under The Phoenix Theatre in the West End.

Formerly an exclusive members’ bar for people of the theatrical persuasion, the space has been completely opened up with a significant amount of restructuring and turned into a performance space and cocktail oasis. (There’s a hint of the movie Connie & Carla here, but that might just be me getting excited.)

There’s a wonderful variety of shows here throughout the week and sometimes multiple times a night. It is ticketed because you get a temporary membership with the ticket that allows the club to continue operating as they do. But ticket options include food and drinks, so it’s worth having a peek.

Here, you’ll find a special dragaoke night with Adam All and Apple Derrieres. Vanity Von Glow has her regular Drag Queen power ballad nights. You’ll also find West End evenings, New Works evenings, burlesque, circus, magic, vaudeville, cabaret—the list goes on and on.

I came on a Saturday when Michael Twaits and his pianist Sarah Rose did two shows at 5 and 7:45. It’s a variety show with guests of differing disciplines all held together by host Michael. They wasted no time getting the audience involved, taking requests to mix together… ( I witnessed Britney and Hamilton getting the special treatment.) Michael instantly puts the audience at ease with a masterful hand. 

What’s especially lovely is how much the staff enjoy working there too!!! I’ll definitely be popping in again…. I had to drive home, but I’m dying to try the cocktails. They’re very proud that they are open to everybody, and Michael proudly describes the cabaret family at the Phoenix as “live, interactive and unique.” 

www.phoenixartsclub.com

Visit the QX Instagram Account to see Martha’s June report: 

Follow us and get a host of wonderful queer content flashed before you every month!

Advertisements

What’s on this week