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Brat Kids Carnival – 3.5 Stars

Brat Kids Carnival

Brat Kids Carnival

Christmas in Leicester Square

Reviewed – 17th November


“Monkey’s volcanic energy in particular helped to keep engagement at a maximum”


Brat Kids Carnival is certainly not lacking in atmosphere – in a gorgeous circus-tent-esque structure in the midst of all the Christmas stalls in Leicester Square, it’s easy to get swept up in the spirit of the festivities. And although the show’s sizzling energy means it never dampens the mood, it also doesn’t always match the expectations that its surrounding grotto creates.

Brat Kids Carnival establishes Monkey (played, incidentally, by American entertainer Mr Monkey) as the MC of the proceedings, with assistance from Vicky Falconer Pritchard as the Party Panda. Even before the show starts, they interact with the audience and play a game of cat and mouse around the space; they made for an endearing pair, and Monkey’s volcanic energy in particular helped to keep engagement at a maximum. The cast is rounded out by Luke Hubbard, Crystal Stacey, and Rowan Thomas who make up the various circus acts that take place.

Unfortunately, not all of acts feel fully developed. The first is a giant purple alien singing, which while initially entertaining, never feels like it expands on its premise, and as a result the attention of the audience noticeably waned during the latter half of the act. This was not an uncommon theme, and also occurred chiefly in a hula-hooping act. Thankfully, Monkey and Party Panda’s interludes help to perk up the audience, with one segment where a child had to throw a piece of banana into Monkey’s mouth proving to be a comic goldmine.

A number of acts were also hugely entertaining – Hubbard and Thomas as a pair of flamingos trying to outdo each other was immense fun, as the act was developed beyond just a showcase of skills into a story, with reams of playfulness and character. This also stood out due to being the only double act in the show – it would’ve been great to have seen more instances where the cast interacted in the acts, and to allow mini-narratives to organically grow in this way.

Brat Kids Carnival’s design is joyous – backlighting the performers as they arrive on stage provides a sense of grandeur, which is only exacerbated by the pulsating music and magnificent costumes. It’s a shame that the content of the acts feels largely undercooked, as every other aspect is primed for top-quality family fun.


Reviewed by Tom Francis

Photography by Jane Hobson


Brat Kids Carnival

Christmas in Leicester Square until 30th December




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Review of Black Cat Cabaret – 5 Stars


Black Cat Cabaret

Christmas in Leicester Square – Spiegeltent

Reviewed – 11th November 2017



“each is a short and quirky tour de force that tickles your palate and then vanishes before it overstays its welcome”


A drag queen, a sort of robot geisha and a man in a particular state of undress, to name a few, skulk amongst the audience. The tent is half-illuminated by the glow of soft lighting on the haze of smoke machines. Suddenly, the sound of a violin. Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, or his seedier brother, the violinist summons the performers to the stage. We are no longer in Leicester Square, but somehow in vintage Montmartre, ready for whatever titillation that the Black Cat Cabaret has in store for us.

The show comprises mostly standalone performances from a variety of performers, each bringing a new artistic discipline in a unique and often surprising way. To say too much of any one act would risk spoiling it, as each is a short and quirky tour de force that tickles your palate and then vanishes before it overstays its welcome. Some have subversive twists; others are spellbinding enough played straight. Each performer is clearly an expert in their craft, and it is fantastic to see the Black Cat Cabaret draw artists of this calibre to the heart of Leicester Square. You will have a favourite, though it may take you a while to decide who.

If one area of the show fails to maintain this very high standard, it is the compère, Dusty Limits. For all the humour and the androgyny, he risks being a little toothless. Picking on audience members between acts is done out of a sense of duty and quickly dropped, while his songs, despite being glorious in the moment, are not particularly memorable. He is, however, a charming presence on stage and a very efficient host. I just wonder if, in the interests of efficiency, Dusty Limits robs himself of the opportunity to truly let rip.

The Black Cat Cabaret is certainly an adult show, but shies away from risking causing offense; despite its apparent eroticism and naughtiness, the nudity is tasteful and the jokes inclusive. This is high-class cabaret at its most polished – so polished that, for better or for worse, some of the sleaze has rubbed off altogether. This is by no means a bad thing, though, if the emphasis is put where it should rightly be: on the quality of the acts themselves.


Reviewed by Matthew Wild




is at Christmas in Leicester Square until 31st December



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