“Men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
This is the party that cannot be missed. This is Gatsby’s party. As the novel that has become a cultural touchstone for the jazz age, The Great Gatsby embodies everything that we associate with the roaring twenties. It is a shameless celebration of excess and glamour. Champagne is ever-flowing, coups are clinking, and everything shimmers in the golden light of post-war hedonism. And whilst a century ago, these parties followed the First World War, a century later, they follow the outbreak of a world-altering global pandemic. Today, alcohol is thankfully not prohibited as we immerse ourselves into the golden age of bootlegging , but smoking indoors certainly is – something our friends from a century ago would have been most displeased about.
Following the spectacular James Bond themed experience, ‘London Never Does,’ the London Cabaret Club are now inviting you to one of the most extravagant parties in London this Christmas. The Bloomsbury Ballroom is home to The London Cabaret Club, and as ‘London’s Opulent Art Deco Venue’, it brings a great deal of authenticity to the evening. The entrance is beautifully decorated with Christmas trees glittering with crimson and gold, and twinkling garlands with red ribbons that are wrapped around the banister of the stairs that lead us to the reception area. Though it was a visually stunning welcome, what would have made this passage to the reception even more magical, however, would have been some music played softly in the background to complete the initial experience.
We are seated in the The Long Bar, which is one of two bars in the venue (the other being the larger Rose Room that is reserved for the Diamond ticket holders) where we are presented with a drink’s menu which has an extensive lists of wines as well as signature cocktails. I order a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. As we await to be led into the main ballroom, we are provided with some light entertainment. Dancers wearing long, floral, chiffon dresses with dropped waists and feathers in their hair, dance alongside our tables in the animated style characteristic of the 1920s to toe-tapping jazz tunes. However, due to the narrowness of the Long Bar, guests and waiting staff found themselves having to squeeze past performers making this a slightly chaotic display. Nonetheless, they leave a resounding energy behind that tantalises us for what is to come for the rest of the evening. Live performances also take place on a small stage in the middle of the bar, with incredible renditions of songs such as Edith Piaff’s “Non Je Ne Regrette Rien”. But, again, due to the narrowness of the bar there is limited perspective on being able to actually see the performance. The joy of the light entertainment is really in its variation. We are also approached by a slight-of-hand magician who shows us a card trick that leaves us stunned.
We are kindly escorted to the main ballroom. The singers for the evening’s main entertainment are Hannah, Nikko and Paul. As we settle into our seats, the show has already begun with Nikko singing Queen’s “Thank God It’s Christmas”, and we are flabbergasted at how amazing this performance of the notoriously difficult vocals of the late Freddie Mercury are executed. Paul’s crisp and elegant vocals give us a spectacular performance of “Let It Snow” and “Sway”. He is also tonight’s Gatsby. At one point he is joined by two flapper dancers on each arm, and commands the stage effortlessly with his charm, as expected of the equally charismatic and enigmatic figure of Jay Gatsby. Hannah’s bewitching vocals take us to celestial heights before gently lowering us back down to earth.
As Gold Ticket holders (from £140 pp) we are provided with the three-course Gold Premium menu, with a bottle of 2018 Garracha red, which goes down very smoothly indeed. For starters we are presented with cured salmon tartare, crispy brioche, pickles and crème fraîche. The salmon tartare is excellent, with the sharpness of the pickles and crispy texture of the brioche being the perfect accompaniments. For the main, a Christmas dinner is served of Norfolk turkey breast, crispy roast potato, caramelised Brussel sprouts, buttered carrots, red wine jus and cranberry jelly. Finally, for desert, a sticky fig pudding with crème anglaise. There are also vegetarian and vegan options available. With all courses beautifully plated, and cooked with sophisticated, well-thought-out flavours that will tantalise your palate, this is a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings of fine dining.
The evening is packed with talent and entertainment. There isn’t a dull moment to be had. Performances of well-known modern hits such as Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, which is accompanied by violins, and “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” by Kylie Minogue, are ingeniously sung in a 1920s style . This artfulness gives us a unique insight into the way in which the music of the 1920s would have been received by its original audience. The trouble with listening to Ethel Waters, or Edith Piaf as a modern listeners is that despite the music still being enjoyed today, it is undeniably dated. But, this reimagining of the 1920s from the other side of the millennium, allows us to be more engaged and listen to the 1920s style of music as if we were the contemporary audience. The acts are daring and full of energy. These include a role Cyr artist and the Duo Eclipse – an indefatigable double act who have unwavering courage – as well as several other stunts that will leave you speechless. One of my favourite stunts is by Paul, who performs the aerial silk trick. Wearing all white, he wraps his body around crimson silk that hangs from the ceiling as he contorts his body to climb it, provide a striking visual that makes this performance even more elegant. During Paul’s performance, Nikko sings “Love is Blindess”, a song featured in the 2013 film-adaption starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Unsurprisingly, there are several tables celebrating birthdays and hen-dos. Paul takes on his role as Gatsby, and main host, with great zeal by paying special attention to these tables to ensure that they will have a night to remember. Waiters bring champagne bottles with flaming fountain candles attached to the top over to these tables. Paul also calls all those celebrating birthdays to the stage so that we can all collectively serenade them with the ‘Happy Birthday’ song. This was brilliant touch, and is probably what Gatsby would’ve done!
As the evening draws to a close, a DJ sets up his booth on the main stage and we are welcomed to get up on our feet for the after party, Gatsby style!
You can book your tickets for A Gatsby Christmas until the 23rd December here.
Stuck on NYE plans? The London Cabaret Club will also be putting on ‘The Great Gatsby New Years Eve Show’. Find out more here.