"An interactive One half wonder"
by Lorraine Smith for remotegoat on 20/08/09

On entering the upstairs bar of the Queens Head, I'm feeling more than a little underdressed. A quick dash to a sofa at the back of the space, and I am able to fully peruse the room and clock that the immaculately dressed people are in fact the performers. And they have clocked me too. I am approached and warmly welcomed by all but one of the performers; including a magician and a Muse. This is to be an interactive cabaret night courtesy of the House of Macabre; scholars, libertines and warriors; of which I have been given the name tag of scholar (professor to be exact).

The Marquis of Grey was particularly charismatic and really embodied his role of libertine and man of excess decadence. He opened up the first half of the show, which was entertaining and involved lots of audience participation. Although I suspect the majority of the participants were friends of the performers, being extremely willing to be 'dragged' up on stage for some banter. The jokes were predictable but slick; the magic tricks good, even if the magician's delivery was a little lacklustre.

The problem with this show however, was the fact that it had a 2nd half. After an hour and a half I'd seen enough cabaret and raised my glass to the Macabre Family a good number of times. The rest of the show really dragged, revealing nothing new or amazing, merely repeating the same jokes and bland acts. For example, the sticks-for-hands woman (the sister of Pinocchio) sang a boring song, said she was going to perform a strip-tease with the help of an audience member, and then stopped him after removing one shoe. Sometimes it's better to show something short and potent than drag out another hour's worth of low quality material. Shame, as I did rather enjoy the 1st half.

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