Visit London Blog » cafe de paris Enjoy the very best of London Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London Burlesque Festival Opens at Café de Paris Wed, 21 Apr 2010 14:37:28 +0000

Last night’s London Burlesque Festival opening was a glamorous affair attended by media, the general public and stars of the UK and international burlesque stage.

The sumptuous Café de Paris is a great venue for this sort of event and the evening got off to a saucy start with, quite appropriately, a lingerie fashion parade. Announced by Bond Girl burlesquer Agent Lynch, the retro-styled Bettie Page collection by festival sponsor Secrets In Lace was modelled by a series of burlesque beauties.

Next up was the Red Carpet Rollout – where the festival’s top performers were introduced by the husky-voiced host, Ivy Paige. It was a nice touch and a tantalising taste of things to come. Despite the volcano situation, this year’s festival will feature artists from Antwerp to Australia, New York to NZ and, of course, the best of British burlesquers (including Visit London-featured Kiki Kaboom).

Impressive acts in the first half included festival organiser Beeby Rose from Amsterdam, who fluttered our feathers with her red and gold parrot. Then there was Bristol lass Bettie Bottom Dollar, whose Charlie Chaplin burlesque was my favourite act of the evening. We also had some fire eating, or rather fire licking, and unzipping (!) from hot Italian Miss Honey Lulu.

Part two featured a swing dance strip by Missy Fatale and Ben from Swingcopation. And there was Equador the Wizard‘s magic boylesque with a Queen soundtrack, plus Perth trio Sugar Blue Burlesque with their “cherry mambo”… cherry ripe!

It’s only just begun and I can’t wait for the rest of the delights in store as London Burlesque Festival week continues.

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Wam Bam Club at Cafe de Paris Mon, 12 Apr 2010 11:00:25 +0000

On Saturday night, I glammed it up for a evening of cabaret, comedy and burlesque at Wam Bam Club in the West End.

Wam Bam is a weekly event, held in the sumptuous surrounds of Café de Paris. For those who haven’t been, the venue is a Grade II listed building that opened in 1924 and retains all of its Art Deco opulence. The staff add to the luxe feel – whisking away coats and ushering us to our table with a flourish, then continuing to be solicitous but not intrusive all evening.

The club was set up cabaret style with tables of two to six, and exclusive banquette seating on one side. They had carefully arranged each table so all diners had a good view of the stage. As did the non-dining guests, who filled up the first-floor balcony areas.

Wam Bam’s lineup, led by the vivacious Lady Alex, was a mixed bag. My companions and I loved retro dancers Cirque de la Rouge, were impressed by Craig the Hula Boy’s skills, enjoyed Missy Malone’s burlesque, and laughed lots at Jack Whitehall’s stand-up routine – he’s definitely one to watch. Some of the other acts were rather flat, and my companion felt we could have seen a few more faces on the bill, but it was a good mix in general.

While we were entertained, we enjoyed a three-course meal. The food won’t be winning any Michelin stars, but is perfectly decent.

The Wam Bam crowd was a mix of birthday celebrations, hen nights and people up for a bit of razzle dazzle in the West End. Once the show was over and meals finished, the tables were swiftly moved away so guests could throw some shapes on Café de Paris’s magnificent dancefloor. A steady stream of crowd-pleasers from the 80s ensured we didn’t sit down for long.

At £75 for the 3-course meal and show, Wam Bam isn’t cheap, but it’s a top night out in a wonderful venue, right off Leicester Square. Turn up early, and you can attend a free burlesque lesson before the show, led by Lady Alex!

Visit London has heard that auditions are currently underway to  recruit a new batch of cabaret talent. Any performers out there who think they’ve got what it takes should get in touch with Lady Alex ASAP to arrange an audition. Check out for details.

And, don’t forget, next week’s London Burlesque Festival kicks off at Café de Paris. I, for one, can’t wait!

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Legally Blonde The Musical Launch at Café De Paris Thu, 01 Oct 2009 11:29:19 +0000 Sheridan Smith as Elle Woods The cast of Legally Blonde The Musical at the Cafe de Paris launch Sheridan Smith as Elle Woods

Sheridan Smith is very, very excited. “Parts like this don’t often come along,” she told an eager audience at the launch of Legally Blonde the Musical, at London’s fabulous Café De Paris on Leicester Square. 

Smith is about to start rehearsals for the lead role of Elle Woods in the forthcoming musical.

A huge, eager audience was served champagne and canapés as sparkly as the venue, while listening to various people behind and in the forthcoming show telling us what to expect come Christmas time. (Legally Blonde starts previews on 5 December.)

First, Legally Blonde’s feisty producer, Sonia Friedman, talked about falling in love with the show while it was still in previews on Broadway; and how, despite having a background based more in dramas and revivals, she begged the creative team to let her bring this musical to London.

Director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (the guy behind Hairspray The Musical) then appeared via video from Las Vegas(!) to tell us how excited he is to be working with such a top British cast, including Sheridan Smith and Peter “Davidson”.

Peter Davison then appeared on stage to correct Mr Mitchell’s pronunciation, and tell us he’s “thrilled to be doing this show. It’s astonishing to think that I’m a musical star now, after doing Chicago in 1999 and later doing Spamalot.” Davison stars at Professor Callahan. Self-deprecating Davison gave us an anecdote about his younger self wandering around musical auditions with his guitar, singing Beatles and Bowie songs with limited success. He also paid tribute to the “enormously talented cast, who I get to be very rude to every single night.

“Which is great, because I’ve spent most of my career being hopelessly nice to people.”

After seeing another pair of stars from the show via video link (Duncan James – playing Warner – who guaranteed men will enjoy this show as much as women; and Sheridan Smith, who’s “so chuffed” about getting the part of Elle), we were treated to a medley of sparky songs from the show, performed with tantalising talent on the tiny Café de Paris stage.

Once we were attuned to the American accents, it became clear these are songs that’ll stick in your head and put a smile on your face. Kudos to the girls who managed to skip and dance at the same time in Whipped Into Shape (Aoife Mulholland as Brooke), and to the whole company for putting on a great showcase just a couple of days into rehearsals.

Jill Halfpenny shone the moment she stepped on stage as Paulette. She really has such star quality. And we were pleasantly surprised by Sheridan Smith’s performance. She’s got a mellow, alto singing voice, and while her brilliant acting is perhaps yet to be matched by her singing, we’re sure she’s going to be great come December. She told Official London Theatre:

“I’ve had to have some singing lessons and I’m having a personal trainer, because I am the laziest person and get a stitch walking to the car, so this is quite a big ask for me.

“But it’s good, the director’s brilliant, very strict, so he’s getting my ass in shape. It’s great to have something to work towards and challenge yourself.

“Most leading ladies in musicals are sopranos… but this one particular part was the only one I could get away with, so I’m just going to give it my all every night and just enjoy every minute.” (Read the full report on Official London Theatre.)

She’s starting to sound like the fantastically positive Elle already!

We returned to the office carrying our Legally Blonde goody bags with pride (loving the nailfile and benefit make-up treats) and started counting down the days until this bright pink, sparkly, positive show arrives to perk up the West End.

Book your Legally Blonde tickets now!

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