STAGE REVIEW: The BonBons Cabaret @ Live Theatre, Newcastle (12.02.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Gasp!” Went our exhalations when we opened up our email to discover that the scheduled performance can no longer go ahead as planned due to illness. “Eeeeh!” Went the squeal upon peering past the sincere apology for inconvenience and disappointment to learn that the show was being replaced with the fabulous BonBons Cabaret, a space where the audience is implored to be as loud as the artists, and a good time is more than guaranteed.

The BonBons Cabaret has been making a splash across the region over the past few years (with an 18-month hiatus for hopefully obvious reasons), boasting a roster of the most prominent trailblazers for LGBTQIA+ representation in the North East.

Mashing together Newcastle’s premier queer cabaret collective House of Love with drag/cabaret duo Bonnie and the Bonnettes, The BonBons Cabaret is the frothiest confection you can imagine, saucy, sweet, and sprinkled with glamorous host Bonnie Love (Cameron Sharp), pin-sharp bearded drag king Ben Dover Love (Rebecca Glendenning), scintillating singer-songwriter MXYM (Max Easter), burlesque babe and token confused dyspraxic girl Mama Rhi (Rhianne Bowes), and the appetising queen full of cream, Vol-Au-Vent Love (Brennan Flanders).

The perfect tonic for these trying times — and essential in its own right for bringing queer cabaret to a traditional theatre setting

For anyone unfamiliar with this outrageous bunch, their statement of intent as champions of dangerous, queer and alternative performance work in the North East and beyond sets the scene yet somehow misses telling you how funny — how tear-inducingly, painfully hilarious — they are.

Presided over by the master of ceremonies Bonnie Love — Sharp channelling the rich streak of dour Northern humour that made his fag-stained Lynne in Bonnie and Fannie’s Christmas Spectacular so unforgettable — the BonBons Cabaret has a little bit of everything; a solo set from the magnetic MXYM featuring self-penned tunes Closer and a cover of Grace Jones’ Pull Up To The Bumper; rock opera that would make Jim Steinman blanche as Vol-Au-Vent Love takes on Bat Out Of Hell; dance numbers powered by relentless bangers the likes of Flying the Flag, Proud Mary, a Britney Spears megamix, and a breathtaking Madonna/Lady Gaga mash-up; and the best retelling of the story of Jack, Rose, and the Titanic since that hack James Cameron took a crack at it.

The perfect tonic for these trying times — and essential in its own right for bringing queer cabaret to a traditional theatre setting and in front of all the new eyes, hearts and minds that entails — The BonBons Cabaret is brazenly raucous, completely ridiculous, and nothing less than an absolute riot.

The BonBons Cabaret is playing at Alphabetti Theatre with special guests Frida Sapphic on Friday 25th February, Laila Sagittaria on Saturday 9th April and Pia Pressure Friday 17th June.

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