REVIEW: Miss Cairo's Cabaret and Cocktails
London's latest night of camp debauchery certainly satisfies
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Who'd have thought it would be a skinny 22-yr-old black boy from North London via Norfolk and Egypt who would take the weight upon their shoulders to pioneer a gay scene in London's overly polished never-been-rimmed-before Knightsbridge.
Historically, Knightsbridge has masqueraded an illicit gay scene of sorts for decades, but there's never been any kind of parade. There's the old Barracks, where up until the 60s affluent gents would toss shillings at virile young horse guards in the dead of night. Then there were the notorious seasonal workers at Harrods, creamy public school boys who were earning pocket money in more ways than one. But there's never been an open scene in this part of town. It's only ever been the stomping ground of closeted toss pots who hold the gay community back with one hand while guiding them in with the other.
Miss Cairo is changing that with the launch of "Cabaret and Cocktails". Hosted, bizarrely yet rather fittingly, in the loungey basement of a Lebanese shisha restaurant called Privée at No. 2 Beauchamp Place. But by definition it isn't strictly a gay night, it's a cabaret night that calls for a celebration of all that is marginal. And so by proxy, there are gorgeous gays all over the shop.
The young hostess Miss Cairo belongs to an emancipated performance troup (slash emascalated mafia group) called "The Familyyy Fierce", who count among their members drag du jour Meth. And so the evening presented an array of intriguing guests, including Meth herself who looked drop dead fabulous in PVC riding boots and trademark mortuary make-up, embodying a sort of Malory Towers zombie get-up. She paid her dues too with a RuPaul lip-sync number.
There was entertainment from the big-titted Lolo Brown, a female burlesque performer who put on a matador show in which an audience member was made to wear a pair of bull horns that were in fact two dildos stuck onto a headband. Lolo also closed the night with an explicit parody of Nigella Lawson. Needless to say, the lesbians in attendance were wetting their lips.
Rubyyy Jones (the three Ys in her name tell you she's part of the aforementioned 'Familyyy Fierce') performed a Marilyn Monroe number in which she somehow lost all of her clothes and finished off by yelling at two gay guys in the corner "It's called a vagina!"
The freakishly shrill Lily Snatchdragon acted as Miss Cairo's sidekick of for the night, tottering around collecting up mislaid gloves and side plates, adding the occasional quip in her distinctive take on Karen.
Spotted in the audience was the sensationally cute Boylesque performer Tom Harlow too, who chose to turn up in a pearly skin tight gym slip that indulged and bulged the imagination. Completely derivative of Michael Alig, but with an arse like Tom's, who's complaining? The audience were treated to the sight of him bent over a trestle table as he frantically decorated a cake.
Miss Cairo herself wowed the crowd with a natural stage presence, deft comedic timing, alarmingly pitch-perfect singing voice and skillful handling of her audience. Considering this is the first night that she has ever hosted, one could almost taste the birth of her career. She chose to sing one of her numbers adjacent to the audience, leaning against a tissue dispenser at the bar completely unlit, a bold move for a virgin matroness.
And so in a nutshell, a scene or sorts was formed. All the elements were in place for a fabulous new residency.
If Miss Cairo can hold onto her core following and expand outwards then 'Cabaret and Cocktails' could become a staple of London's nightlife calendar. Being in Knightsbridge of course, we'll have to share the rewards with our straight comrades. But perhaps that's a good thing. 'Caberet and Cocktails' is a rich blend of burlesque, boylesque, gurlesque and queerlesque. It's a below-the-counter culture that shows promise. The next night will be in April, so follow Miss Cairo's Facebook page for details (https://www.facebook.com/misscairomascara).
Whether this pioneering night persists or not, one thing is for sure - Miss Cairo has arrived and she's here to stay.
Follow her on Twitter:@PrettyMissCairo
Words: Jack Cullen @jackcullenuk
Photo credit: Paul Singer