Paris’ famed cabaret Crazy Horse has finally arrived in London. Revamped for a British audience, the seductive spectacle Forever Crazy showcases 10 professional dancers along with poster pin-up Kelly Brook for an extra touch of celebrity sass. It sounds like it ought to be spectacular, but something along the way falls flat — ‘ne razzle-dazzle pas’ if you will.
Upon entering the pop-up tent on the Southbank, the atmosphere is as you might expect – French chill-out grooves, neon signs flashing words like ‘Sexy’ and ‘Peekaboo’, and an over-priced bar that churns out dirty martinis like tap water. What one does not expect is the main showroom to be so voluminous; a far cry from the intimate set-ups experienced at other cabaret clubs. Equally surprising is the waiting staff’s demand to see proof of our tickets five times before the show starts. We are beginning to wonder what kind of a show we are about to watch…
Our fears are temporarily set aside as a line-up of bare-breasted dancers hit the stage in a uniformed act of leg kicks. This is preceded by a sensuous segment of pole dancing, a chair-straddling sequence, and Kelly Brook’s debut involving a lot of writhing around a lip-shaped sofa. As fans of Frederick Wiseman’s behind-the-scenes documentary ‘Crazy Horse’, we are thrilled to see recognisable acts highlighting the peerless artistic direction and stunning visual effects that have helped give the cabaret its legendary status.
The second act starts with a bang: a leopard-printed dancer climbs around a cage and a black-eyed man and woman bust out drum beats using kitchen utensils. In between routines, Kelly Brook tip-toes on stage, giggling as if she has stumbled somewhere she isn’t meant to be. The finale makes up for these uncomfortable moments — reuniting all 10 performers and reminding us one last time just how picture-perfect they look.
The two hours whiz by. It is not often you get to watch flawless bodies resembling fine art move about half naked on stage. But as we are quickly ushered out of the tent and into the cold, we can’t help feeling a little unsatisfied. The high ticket prices, Kelly Brook’s over-hyped appearance and an overall lack of pizzazz in several of the segments leave us partly disappointed.
Forever Crazy runs through 16 December at a purpose-built venue on the Southbank, though Kelly Brook’s final performance is 22 November. Tickets run from £40 up to £100+. Groups of 6 or more receive a 10% discount.