London Cabaret Awards 2014

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Hostess Myra Dubois at London Cabaret Awards 2014

The trophies have been awarded at the 2014 London Cabaret Awards. Read about the ceremony here

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Myra Dubois as Margaret Thatcher at London Cabaret Awards

This is the third year of the London Cabaret Awards, which exists to honour and recognise the work produced in London’s wide, varied and vibrant cabaret scene, and to bring it to the attention of a wider audience. It is the brainchild of Paul L. Martin, well known promoter of cabaret and cabaret acts, and director of entertainment agency Excess All Areas, who produce the Awards.

The way it works is that Excess All Areas appoint a panel of five judges, each of whom are involved in the London cabaret scene in some way, who then draw up a longlist from nominees in November, which is reduced to a shortlist of three in each category in January in readiness for the ceremony in February. There are also two awards voted for by the public – the Audience Award and the Unsung Hero award.

The 2014 ceremony was held at the Lost Theatre, a somewhat bigger venue than the first held on Battersea Barge, and was, as should be expected from such a colourful community, conducted with great panache and hilarity. The evening was very ably hosted by Myra Dubois who, as well as introducing the categories, provided some standout moments of entertainment herself. In addition to the occasional caustic jibe, her piece of ‘contemporary theatre’ on Margaret Thatcher, whose spirit she claims has entered her, nearly brought the house down.

There were too many categories and shortlisters to go into here (see the full list with judges on the website), but some notable winners were Unsung Hero award winner Jo King, founder and principal of London Academy of Burlesque, Best Vocal Act Lady Rizo, and Best Drag Act La Voix.

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Tina T’urner Tea Lady receiving her award for Best Newcomer from Sarah-Louise Young

In between presentations were a number of acts, all of which entertained and kept the party atmosphere going. The standouts for me were The Tom Show, performing the seemingly impossible task of forcing his entire body through a broken tennis racket, and the youthful Tamar Broadbent. I have seen Tamar sing her song of teenage love at the amateur dramatics society before, but what struck me particularly on this occasion was her ability to charm a very different audience from the London Festival of Cabaret, where I first came across her, and deal with hecklers with a grace and confidence unusual in someone so new to the scene.

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Barb Jungr at London Cabaret Awards 2014

It was good to see stalwart songbook performers Barb Jungr and Adele Anderson amongst the presenters for the awards. Given the rift that was highlighted last year with the London Festival of Cabaret, and fully recognising the difficulties for the judges, it would be nice to see some songbook performers receive awards from the LCA, if only to be inclusive and welcoming to this wide community, and acknowledge the contribution made by those artists too.

That said,it is no mean feat to organise, create and maintain momentum of events like these, which give cabaret a recognition long overdue. Long may it last and continue to grow, and all power to Paul L Martin for getting it going.

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About Fiona Jane Weston

I am Fiona-Jane Weston and as well as being a performer myself (see website), I write reviews of and features on shows, mainly on the London cabaret and theatre scene. I have worked in theatre for many years, but decided to embark on a new direction in cabaret in 2009, when I produced 20th Century Woman: The Compact Cabaret. Not wanting to neglect my love of spoken word, particularly drama and verse, I made the conscious decision to include these elements in the programme, as well as wonderful songs, to tell the story of women's changing status and preoccupations throughout the 20th Century and up to now. I was invited to audition for the renowned Cabaret Conference at Yale, run by the late legendary Erv Raible, and that was thrilled to be one of only 26 accepted that year, where I was taught by the masters of the genre. Amanda McBroom (composer of the Bette Middler hit "The Rose" and the poignant "Errol Flynn"), Laurel Massé, original member of Manhattan Transfer, Sally Mayes, Tony Award nominees Sharon McNight and Tovah Feldshuh, and New York cabaret veteran Julie Wilson were all on the faculty. We were also treated to the musical direction of Alex Rybeck, Hubert Tex Arnold and the now late Paul Trueblood. With the benefit of their insightful teaching and great encouragement, I took my show to The Duplex in New York, where I was delighted with the response. Since then, I have produced Loving London: The Capital Cabaret, using the same format of songs, poetry and drama, in various London venues, including Leicester Square Theatre and The Crazy Coqs. 2014, the centenary of World War 1, saw the launch of Wartime Women: the Khaki Cabaret to a sellout house at St. James Theatre, London, garnering great notices, including from The Times and Musical Theatre Review. I have since been touring the show to Belgium and throughout the UK. I hope these reviews and interviews entertain and educate at the same time, and if please do leave comments in the box. It's great to engage in a conversation about the Arts. Fiona-Jane Weston
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One Response to London Cabaret Awards 2014

  1. Pingback: London Cabaret Awards - Excess All Areas

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