We headed down to the preview of Tarantism – a new cabaret experience at Fest Camden
Having worked in the events industry for a mere four months, it is perhaps not surprising that up until this evening, I had never attended a cabaret show in my life. After attending Tarantism at Fest Camden, a celebration of some of Tarantino’s most iconic characters and plots, I think it’s fair to say I’ve still never been to a cabaret show.
Call me traditional, but to me, cabaret involves near-naked women with nipple tassels and feather crowns doing synchronised kicking on a line. It also involves impressive acrobatics hanging from a trapeze in the ceiling.
I was curious as to how Pulp Fiction’s Mia Wallace would fit into that narrative. She didn’t. What happened was a series of re-enactments of Quentin Tarantino’s most famed film moments, complete with costumed characters singing the iconic songs that appear in them (‘Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)’ by Nancy Sinatra, ‘Little Green Bag’ by George Baker Selection, ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’ by Stealers Wheel and – of course – ‘Woo Hoo’ by The 126.96.36.199's, to name a few). There was even a twisting competition to mimic the famous Pulp Fiction dance scene to Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’.
In an effort to induce a cabaret feel, a few scenes were given a more sexual touch. You know the nurse from Kill Bill? She got her tits out. And Jackie Brown gave a lap dance. Then there was a woman in sexy underwear doing fire juggling and some angle grinding, and another doing aerial silks acrobatics – both impressive, but unrelated to the theme. Also, shouldn’t a cabaret show in 2018 be more gender neutral? Where were all the topless boys?!
Now don’t get me wrong; even though it didn’t fulfil my expectations of a cabaret, I had a great time. The singers were talented and interactive, the costumes thrillingly accurate and the quotes were delivered in a way that left the audience cheering, clapping and laughing. If you’ve got Tarantino fans among your staff or favourite clients, they will definitively enjoy themselves. They will especially appreciate some of the legendary characters interacting with the guests during the pre-show reception – Gogo Yubari from Kill Bill Vol 1 (the scary school girl) gave me serious chills.
But be warned – the feel is pretty casual. We’re talking folding chairs and tables that are removed after the show to reveal the club dancefloor, and plastic glasses. You can choose between two different party packages for pre-show receptions in the stables. The silver (£49pp) includes a bottomless party platter with delicious canapés, and five drinks per person. If you want to go all out and keep the party going after the show finishes, I would opt for the gold (£75pp, minimum of six people), which also includes VIP entry to the club afterwards and a bottle of vodka to share.
Cabaret, not cabaret: however you choose to label it, I can guarantee good fun. And like Jackie Brown says: ‘Just shut your raggedy-ass up, and sit the f**k down!’
Tarantism will take place on rotation across Fridays and Saturdays from October through to December.
Tickets start at £20pp |Fest Camden, Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, Camden, NW1 8AH |festcamden.com