Imagine an illicit cabaret club in a seedy basement in Berlin. Smoky, sexy and thoroughly disreputable. Everything is Bob Fosse – Joel Grey is the MC, Liza Minnelli is the lovely Sally Bowles, chanteuse, comedienne and general sex goddess. Then imagine this scene of delicious debauchery transported to an equally hot and sweaty basement in Lothian Road in August and you have the tour de force of cabaret burlesque entertainment which is the phenomenal Full Moon Cabaret, brought to you all the way from Berlin itself by the its irrepressible compere – Viva Lamore.
A million miles away from blander Las Vegas-style showgirl burlesque, Full Moon Cabaret is a gritty, disgraceful and shamelessly rude celebration of flesh and human vices. From the rubber limbs of the twisted Roy Tracey – contortionist stripper and circus supremo – through the Hula Hoops rotations of Anya Askew, and the incredibly beautiful and highly inventive dance of burlesque queen, Arabella Twist – tonight performing a haunting Frida Kahlo routine – this cabaret is a non-stop procession of jaw-dropping performance art and beautiful bodies.
Whereas it’s unfair to single out any member of this irrepressible ensemble, a tiny bit of special praise must be meted out to the stunning ‘dirty blues’ vocals of Nicole Smit who, with seance-like ability, brings back the spirits of Bessie Smith and other dead divas, specialising in their more underground material with lyrics like “I need a hotdog between my buns,” and other much ruder innuendos.
There are drinking games and theatrical tableaux, dancing girls and boys and dirty jokes and irreverent pantomime. It’s fun night like no other and even concludes with the infamous “mooning contest” where audience members can bare all to compete for a half-price cocktail – your reviewer was beaten hands down by a lady in a lurex dress! – and is a fitting end to any hot summer’s evening at the Fringe.