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Announcement of London’s first cabaret festival causes a storm

Posted at 12:00 pm, July 4, 2013 in Arts & Entertainment
© Ed Marshall

It’s all kicking off in cabaretland. Last week saw the announcement of the first London Festival of Cabaret this October – a cause for celebration among the grassroots scene that has made London a world leader in this dynamic, resurgent artform?

Not likely. The mother of all cabariots erupted on Twitter because the new festival eschews variety, burlesque, circus, drag and magic, instead dedicating itself to traditional musical-theatre and songbook shows. What’s more, it finds room for ‘cabaret virgins’ like TV’s Alexander Armstrong but not one of the performers who came up in the current London scene.

Our cabaret editor Ben Walters looks at how the whole thing kicked off in his feature ‘London Festival of Cabaret is planting a flag in a minefield‘.

Then yesterday saw the publication in the Evening Standard of an interview with Armstrong in which, in a few short words, he managed both to appear ignorant of the capital’s decade-long cabaret revival and disparage the entire form of burlesque – an unusual approach for a debutante.

Hours later, Armstrong took to Twitter (@XanderArmstrong) to issue a profuse apology. Meanwhile, plans already seem to be gathering steam for a grassroots event around the same time as the new festival.

This one, it seems, will run and run…

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