Open the Fringe programme this year and the first thing which greets you is the brand new Cabaret section. If 2010 was the year that the genre made its mark in Edinburgh, then 2011 is when all the variety, comedy, magic and music is officially deemed important enough to be recognised in its own right.
Here at Edinburgh Spotlight, we’ve long been fans of the glamour and the glitz of cabaret, so here are our picks (in no order) of the shows on offer.
- Fascinating Aida
Together with comedy singer Sarah-Louise Young (who has now joined the group’s ranks as soprano), Fascinating Aida’s Dillie Keane was instrumental in campaigning for the new Cabaret section to be included in the Fringe. Now, the doyennes of the Cheap Flights can firmly be considered as queens of the cabaret, and their show is bound to be a highlight of the Fringe this year.
- Frisky & Mannish: Pop Centre Plus
Another act which has helped raise the awareness of Cabaret are the master and mistress of the mashup and comedy pop cover, Frisky & Mannish. Now stars of the scene, their show is likely to be a white hot ticket this year.
- Mat Ricardo
If ever a man was born to juggle, it is Mat Ricardo. Finally feeling as though he’s found his home in the cabaret scene, his show is set to dazzle and entertain at the Voodoo Rooms this year.
- Vive Le Cabaret
Meanwhile, over at The Pleasance is the welcome return of the show which you could say helped kick-start the genre at the Fringe. Hosted by the inimitable Des O’Connor and featuring a changing lineup of stellar Fringe talent, this variety show is a perfect sampler of the scene.
- Melody La Rouge
Jazz singer by night; cabaret singer by…well…later that night. Melody La Rouge is the cabaret alter-ego of Kerry Hodgkin, a scarlet lady who belts out big show tunes with a style all of her own.
- Doug Segal
Mentalist Doug Segal knows what you’re thinking; and he’s thinking you must come to The Three Sisters to witness his feats of mind-reading and mentalism – by the end of his show, you’ll even know how to do a few tricks of your own. And it’s free!
- Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer
The suave and sophisticated inventor of chap-hop is in Edinburgh for his first full-length solo show. Come and be educated as he takes you on a musical journey like no other.
- Kitty Cointreau’s BraHaHa
Another variety-packed evening fronted by burlesque star Kitty Cointreau, this show promises to hearken back to the good old days of vaudeville, with a naughty but nice vibe.
- Cabaret Whore: More! More! More!
Come see why Sarah-Louise Young was hand-picked to be part of Fascinating Aida in her solo show, featuring a hilarious quartet of damaged divas.
- Piff The Magic Dragon
With his faithful canine comrade Mr Piffles in tow, Piff The Magic Dragon has risen through the ranks to be one of the cabaret elite. His humour, magic and dragon costume are not to be missed.
And of course, there’s a whole load more to choose from. Whatever style of cabaret you like: from the bawdiness of the burlesque scene to the show tunes and vaudeville of old, there’s something which is bound to appeal.
So this year, get ready to come to the cabaret…