Sideshow The Weirdest Show On Earth - Theatre Review

Alternative cabaret SIDESHOW THE WEIRDEST SHOW ON EARTH is just the ticket if you want to spend a deliciously deviant Friday night. Find out more at the Leicester Square Theatre… or read on!

TOTALLY weird and tastelessly wild, alternative cabaret Sideshow is just the ticket if you’re looking for a deviant way to spend a Friday night.

Set in an intimate basement in London’s Leicester Square, the eclectic mix of performers cosy up to the small audience - a delight for the hecklers amongst you, unsettling for those more timid. I sat at the back!

Host for the evening is Desmond O’Connor, not the ultra-smooth crooner but his mischievously camp, crass, ukulele-carrying namesake. Sidekick DJ Margaret the Gimp roams around sporting a large disco-ball on his head. I think you get the picture.

With a change in line up every Friday, the show’s one guarantee is its unpredictability. Our highlights included Mat Ricardo the charmingly frustrated juggler, Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer and comedian Jeff Leach, who, undermining his macho patter, wore nothing but boxers and bunny ears.

Burlesque dancer Lady Alex and performance artist Lola LaBelle provided token female titillation – fun but forgettable. Lowlight of the night was Shibari expert Santi, whose bizarre act of stringing up, and then stripping down, a woman wearing a burka choked the basement with unease.

Billed as a “carnival of late night corruption and confusion”, Sideshow pitches itself as outrageously anarchic entertainment - an ambitious claim it fails to fully satisfy. With cheap references to the Taliban, Gary Glitter and the like, performers revel in political incorrectness, but this doesn’t necessarily amount to the abundance of “freaks, outcasts and attention seekers” promised. The show fails to quite reach the boundaries it aims to push. Having expected fireworks, this performance was more like a sparkler.

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But sparklers sparkle nonetheless. Although falling short of the hype, Sideshow is oddly entertaining. Definitely worth a night out – if you’re into that sort of thing.

* Showing every Friday at the Basement, Leicester Square Theatre, Leicester Place, WC2.