A Look Forward to Glasgow Cabaret Festival

Clare Sinclair gets the lowdown on the Festival of Cabaret exploding across Glasgow

Article by Clare Sinclair | 02 Jul 2009

Love it or loathe it, the recent climax of Britain’s Got Talent has brought traditional cabaret and variety back into the mainstream, taking it out of the distant setting of the Royal Variety Show and up close and personal with audiences. The end of the current run of shows does not, however, signal the end of variety performances for the year. Glasgow presents an incredible line-up of cabaret, variety and burlesque shows throughout July with the debut of the Glasgow Cabaret Festival 2009, directed by Louise Oliver of Rhymes with Purple Productions.

The festival is formed by 11 separate events over a week in the most atmospheric venues across Glasgow, including Glasgow Art Club and the Arches. The family-friendly Bumble Trees Cabaret appears at the Rio Café, while more risqué performances, such as Does This Piano Make My Ass Look Big, are hosted at the Glasgow Art Club. The healthy mix of small intimate acts and larger-than-life show-stoppers to keep all cabaret and variety fans sated.

Rufus, from Rhymes with Purple Productions, says: “My real hope is that we can pull in the people who enjoy the large-scale events, and get them to see that an evening of cabaret is a wonderful variety of entertainment with something for every taste.” And with the building popularity of the neo-burlesque scene, Rhymes With Purple “wanted to bring back the idea that burlesque is only a tiny part of the variety and cabaret scene, and that you can have an incredible line-up of talented acts without the finale of every routine being someone taking their bra off”.

Cabaret is coming of age, with increasingly ambitious projects sitting alongside modern reimaginings of classic acts.For example, the Missy and Leyla Show mashes up the gameshow format, with circus acts alongside two of burlesque's hottest stars. Does This Piano Make My Arse Look Big is a cheeky punk story of an everyday social inadequate who discovers rock'n'roll and changes her life. And For The Love of Cutler celebrates the work of Scotand's most famous member of the noise-abatement society.

As part of the festival, Rockaburley continues growing in strength after its recent first birthday celebrations, ran by Cat Aclysmic and Daiquiri Dusk. Speaking to Cat about Rockaburley and its place within the Glasgow Cabaret Festival, she says: “Daiquiri and I encourage variety by making sure we have something for everyone: dancing, singing, burlesque, good music, plus I’m doing a brand new fire show for the July 10th show.” And on fitting the established Rockaburley into the festival: “We do this on the premise that it’s a good show, and that the people that come to see us will have a unique experience and, most importantly, a fantastic night. The great thing about being part of the Glasgow Cabaret Festival is that Rhymes with Purple feel the same way. We’re all here to put on an amazing show; we’re going to enjoy the hell out of it, but then so are you.”

With an exciting and varied line-up over the festival, Rhymes with Purple “think people will be surprised by the sheer variety of entertainment on offer and how weird and wonderful some of the acts on offer will be”. Take yourself away from reality TV and humdrum life, and join in the Cabaret.

The Festival has shows across Glasgow: check the website for further details.