Raunchy Ghosts From London’s Past Appear At Cafe De Paris

Will Noble

Raunchy Ghosts From London’s Past Appear At Cafe De Paris

The Service at Cafe de Paris


Josephine Baker returns to Cafe de Paris

Cafe de Paris’ rip-roaringly raunchy new show The Service, comes punctuated with the banshee-wail of an air raid siren. It’s the kind of throwaway sting you’d usually toss into a set to froth things up, but here, it’s the eerie harbinger of a ghost: that of Ken ‘Snake Hips’ Johnson.

This show is riddled with spectres. Being haunted by a pageant of ghosts was never high up on our to do list. But when they slink on in the guise of yesteryear’s licentious Cafe de Paris performers and punters — Noel Coward, Josephine Baker (an earlier Beyonce, who owned her racist banana skirt), an uncanny Marlene Dietrich — well, that’s different.

The creators couldn’t have done a better job: fizzing burlesque — featuring a Princess Margaret 20 times naughtier than her incarnation in The Crown — is poured liberally over a genuine sense of story, history and tragedy. You’ll learn more about London — certainly its liberal, saucy side —  from The Service, than you will at some museums.

Talking of history and tragedy, the real showstopper is a reflective aerial entanglement above the very stage on which Snake Hips Johnson was killed by a falling bomb in 1941. After a couple of house cocktails, it’s sure to put a lump in your throat.

Throughout the night, though, something is bugging us; we’ve seen this setup somewhere before. Suddenly, it clicks: surely there are hints of Malcolm McLaren’s punk-doc-musical The Ghosts of Oxford Street. That’s something we make a habit of watching every Christmas. We’d happily enjoy The Service once every 365 days, too.

The Service, every Friday at Cafe de Paris. Tickets from £20

Last Updated 28 March 2018

Source : https://londonist.com/london/on-stage/this-raunchy-show-reveals-flesh-tears-and-history