REVIEW: The Priscilla Party Experience: The Cockatoo Club (Proud Cabaret) ★★

Proud announces itself as London’s newest super club, although I am not sure quite what criteria they are using to measure themselves! There appears to be quite a range of events taking place at the club, so it is not solely a cabaret venue, however The Cockatoo Club have taken over for one night to present The Priscilla Party Experience. As they are taking their cue from the musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert, one of my favourite shows, I have high hopes!

We are introduced to proceedings by Miss Understanding, who takes to the (very small) central stage to deliver her best Tina Turner – a classic Priscilla scene. Miss U is our compere for the evening and works hard to get the Thursday evening crowd to loosen up, offering bottles of fizz to the best “I Will Survive” performance.

The Divas – 3 female singers who in the musical hover above the stage belting out disco classics, are here. Their costumes are spot on but the songs they are given don’t always reflect the show. The opening scene of the musical has the main character performing “Never Been To Me” to a hostile reception which sets the scene for the whole show. Here it is sung (beautifully) by one of the Divas, which rather defeats the point of it.

Cynthia, the Thai bride, is here and (after a slight technical hitch) delivers a strong performance. I pity anyone who has come along with no knowledge of the film or the musical as that is a very odd performance seen out of context!

Unfortunately, what is missing are the central 3 characters who are only briefly represented by 3 dancers – 2 wearing the classic round feet costumes, which proves super challenging for them as they cannot get through the tables of diners! Their appearance to a medley of Priscilla tunes sung by Miss U and The Divas is the highlight of the evening. However the issue throughout the whole show is the on/off element of it and just as the audience gets into the swing of things, the performers leave and the DJ takes over with standard modern pop which doesn’t keep the Priscilla vibe going.

My expectation for this night was a seamlessly delivered cabaret show of an hour and a half or so followed by a club night. What I got was a stop / go performance that was excellent in places but constantly lost momentum.

There appears to be an increasing number of theatre cabaret venues opening across the West End, which is no bad thing in my opinion! However it does mean that anyone entering this space will need to bring their a-game. The Cockatoo Club only brought their C game which made for a reasonably entertaining evening but requires much improvement.

Reviewed by Emma Heath


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