In its previous days as a gentleman’s lavatory, CellarDoor at Zero Aldwych (is there a cooler London address?) was allegedly frequented by Wilde, Orton and Gielgud. Now the place is crammed with about thirty office worker types drinking coffee cup cocktails and munching popcorn (Genesius wept). Thankfully female duo EastEnd Cabaret bring a little flavour of the old days back through witty banter of a decidedly sexual nature.
There are sayings about people who talk constantly about sex but that probably doesn’t apply here as both are alluring creatures though in very different ways. Bernadette Byrne (aka BB) has the vampire chanteuse sound and look nailed with her red crushed velvet dress, more dark makeup than an emo convention and jet black hair offset by a dandy pearl anklet. Victor Victoria (aka VV or Victy) rocks an entirely different vibe; she has inverted androgeny by being both simultaneously: her left half is all girl – blonde hair and skirt – while the right is a very mannish brunette with ‘tache and trouser.
If Stephen Fry is reading this, he may want to look away now for these girls are serious fans of the bump and grind and all things that go hump in the night. The songs are generally very dark and very funny with topics including seduction, jealousy, rape and necrophilia. Their louche lounge covers of vintage pop hits were inspired, for example when mashing up Salt n Pepa’s Push It with Olivia Newton John’s Physical or performing a dominatrix-themed Sex On Fire sung while blindfolded.
The songs are interspersed with readings from Mr Little Red Book on subjects including vampire lust and dogging etiquette. Hermann Goering was reputed to have said that when he heard the word “culture” he reached for his revolver. If Mao Zedong saw what VV and BB have done to his teaching manual, he may well be reaching for something similar.
EastEnd Cabaret may be a twosome with a one-track mind but they are some of the best fun you can have with your clothes on.
EastEnd Cabaret can be seen on the last Wednesday of every month at Cellar Door. The show is free but we would advise getting down there for around 7:30 if you want a seat. They also play at other cabaret nights (see website below).