Review: ‘Hilarious’ ★★★★ Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows, Underbelly Festival

Finding the ‘Weakest Link’ or someone ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ among our British politicians isn’t currently a very a difficult task and in Jon Brittain’s new satirical show at Underbelly Festival, the Iron Lady herself is posing some tricky questions, for the baying hoards to enjoy.

The show follows the tremendous success of Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho and this time sees the former Prime Minister, played by Matt Tedford, enlist some unsuspecting onlookers to take part in classic game shows aimed to thoroughly dis the current political climate.

Writer, Jon Brittain, has had to rewrite much of the show, with the political landscape continuing in an almost constant state of fluctuation since the show premiered at Edinburgh last year.

Alongside some dancing assistants called Strong and Stable the frivolity is maintained as the NHS, human rights and, of course, Brexit are all given a good sardonic seeing to.

There are also some fabulous faux cameo appearances from Nicola Sturgeon, Nigel Farage and Angela Merkel, but it’s the Iron Lady (complete with perfectly coiffed hair and the obligatory wrist mounted handbag), who calls the shots in this hilarious evening of merriment.

Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows continues at Underbelly Festival until 2 July 

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Review: ‘A hilarious celebration’ ★★★★★ Liza’s Back! (is Broken), Underbelly Festival

Being the daughter of an icon can have its downsides. Despite halcyon days spent living in the Savoy Hotel and touring the world, Liza Minnelli had a tricky start in life and learned early on that having Judy Garland as your mother does not guarantee success.

Despite the many downsides Liza Minnelli grew to be a stage and screen legend in her own right and Trevor Ashley’s affectionate takeoff of the star in his acclaimed cabaret show Liza’s Back! (Is Broken) is a hilarious celebration of the unique personality.

Trevor Ashley as Liza Minnelli

Ashley’s comedy drag show offers a musical display of such a high-caliber; you almost don’t need the quips in between to string the songs together, although lines like “From the waist down I’m a man and from the waist up I’m wasted” are suitably greeted with raucous laughter. Such is his vocal prowess; the impersonator embodies the star with a powerful and authentic sound, married with enough tongue in cheek humour, to keep comedy fans on their toes.

With many of Minnelli’s classics given a masterful rendering alongside other musical theatre favourites (including a wonderful melancholic mash-up of “We’re Off to See the Wizard” and “The Wizard and I” to close act one) aficionados and new comers are equally catered for and are treated to a show filled with fun and even a bit of frantic dance.

Liza’s Back! (is broken) is at Underbelly Festival from 27 June until 2 July

Homage to David Bowie comes to Underbelly Festival

Starman, the hit show from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival debuts in London next month for three dates at the London Wonderground’s Spiegel Tent. Starring Sven Ratzke, the international supernova of cabaret who mixes the beautiful universe of Bowie with his own unique style of storytelling and reinterpretations of the stars legendary music.

This brilliant bold homage to David Bowie combines many of the artist’s famous numbers such as “Space Oddity,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Heroes,” and “Rock and Roll Suicide” with classic album tracks plus inspired original songs by Ratzke and Rachelle Garniez. More than a mere tribute show, Starman is a one-man rock musical with unique characters and bold reinventions of glam rock classics. For this show Sven works closely with his brilliant band to stage this show.

After its world Premiere In Berlin in 2015 to rave reviews with the city’s biggest paper The Berliner Morgenpost, citing ‘Starman’ as “an exciting evening. Sparkling and grand, singer Ratzke takes you to other worlds and connects art with entertainment and fact with fantasy is a unique and beautiful way.” Starman went on to tour worldwide capturing audiences from New York to Edinburgh to Sydney.

Ratzke the transgressive European entertainer extraordinaire is internationally recognized for the title role in the first-ever Berlin production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. John Cameron Mitchell, the musical’s creator and the original star, declared “Sven is the best Hedwig I’ve ever seen.” He has also played the lead role in various productions of ‘Cabaret’ He crosses musical genres and traverses decades with panache and a unique style that blends high culture with elements of glam rock, classic Weimar cabaret with vaudeville.

Sven Ratze: Starman is at Underbelly Festival from 7 – 9 June

The Black Cat Cabaret set to take Underbelly Festival by storm this summer

Parisian-inspired cabaret spectacular, The Black Cat Cabaret, has announced an exciting new summer season at Underbelly Festival, taking place from Friday 20th May until the end of September at London’s Southbank.

London’s favourite purrrveyors of dark and daring cabaret entertainment return with a spectacular show, breathing new life into the decadent world of vintage Montmartre.

Upon entering the glorious, mirrored surroundings of the Underbelly spiegeltent, guests can expect to encounter at close quarters a merry band of high-kicking showgirls, jaw-dropping acrobats, comic street singers, a fire-breathing siren and daredevil aerialists – all bound together with a belle epoque sense of giddy abandonment.

The Black Cat has made a name for itself as the place to experience modern cabaret in all of its wondrous forms – from the sacred to the profane, the lyrical to the downright louche. Returning to the Southbank for a 4th summer season, these shows take place in a stunning setting that combines theatre-style seating with the thrill of the big top. The 2017 summer run will feature Black Cat Cabaret’s original, “after-hours Montmartre” show, which is returning for the first time since 2014.

Inspired by the heyday of Parisian cabaret culture, yet with a timeless quality all of its own, the show is a veritable who’s who of the London scene. Step over the threshold and encounter absinthe-addled artistes, flame-haired courtesans and bittersweet comic chanteuses, all presided over by The Black Cat’s “compère beyond compare” Dusty Limits. The BCC’s trademark combination of cabaret and comic acts with high skills circus, original music and choreography makes it a night out like no other.

Having appeared at many of London’s most revered night spots, from Café de Paris and Hotel Café Royal, to the former Pigalle Club in salubrious St James’, the past year has seen The Black Cat Cabaret go from strength to strength. While taking over the iconic Hippodrome Casino for a couple of sell-out dates this Spring, Black Cat Cabaret is also making regular appearances at Zédel with an intimate, opulent “Salon des Artistes” dinner & show. With these ongoing residencies as well as the new season at Southbank, Black Cat Cabaret is the perfect choice for a thrilling night out this summer.

Confirmed dates at Underbelly Festival includeSaturday 20th May – 21:15 Friday 2nd June – 21:30 Saturday 8th July – 21:15 Saturday 5th August – 21:15 Friday 22nd Sept – 21:30

Liza’s back in London…well sort of!

After wowing audiences at London Wonderground in 2016, Trevor Ashley is bringing everyone’s favourite diva back to London this Summer in Liza’s Back! (is broken) , his five-star comic tribute to the iconic Liza Minnelli, playing at the Underbelly Festival for 6 performances only from Tuesday 27 June to Sunday 2 July.

Listen to Trevor perform Maybe This Time as Liza

There is no doubt about it; Liza Minnelli is a true Broadway legend. But her appearances on the musical stage have been few and far between. So what would happen if Liza decided to perform all the great Broadway roles she never got to play, in one special night?   Liza’s Back! (is broken) explores the parts that Minnelli should have played over the last forty years – those great leading lady roles from Grizabella to Norma Desmond, and all others in between. Ever wanted to see Liza tackle Wicked? Then this is the show for you!

Direct from rehab, and live with a 7-piece big band, don’t miss Liza singing Broadway’s greatest hits, including I Have Confidence, Memory, Send in the Clowns, Le Jazz Hot plus her own classics Maybe This Time, Cabaretand New York, New York!

Trevor Ashley is an Australian performer and cabaret artist. His musical theatre credits in Australia include creating the role of Miss Understanding in the world premiere of  Priscilla Queen of The Desert – The Musical; Edna Turnblad in Hairspray and Monsieur Thenadier in Les Miserables. Trevor is the creator and star of a one-man Dame Shirley Bassey tribute Diamonds are for Trevor, which he recently performed to a sell-out audience at Sydney Opera House. As Liza, his smash hit show Liza (On an E) has played seasons all over the world, including a week-long residency at the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End.

Liza’s Back! (is broken) is at Underbelly Festival from 27 June until 2 July