A Night in Soho with Vanity von Glow is a traditionally styled cabaret that sparkles. Vanity von Glow is the jewel that glitters in the splendid setting of a dark and cosy basement venue. Descending the stairs into the Phoenix Artists Club is a step into another world.
The internationally ignored superstar, Vanity von Glow. You may approach the diva!
Every Sunday evening at 8:30 the lights go up on the beautiful face of Vanity von Glow and the room reverberates to the outstanding timbre of the diva’s voice. The cabaret, A Night in Soho with Vanity von Glow, plays at the Phoenix Artists’ Club in Soho but Miss Von Glow has appeared extensively around the world.
The rest of the world may be ignoring Vanity, but the audience at last night’s performance drank in every golden note.
The space is a wonderful venue for this drag queen show of sophisticated music. It begins in the style of the great lounge acts of former decades. Colourful lights move through smoke and a glitter ball sprays bubbles of light round the room. Smoke enhanced beams of light are fabulous and add considerably to the ambience of the venue but one wonders why the lights came down on the singer at the end of every song leaving the performer to accept well earned applause in darkness.
Vanity von Glow (Thom Glow) is a most refined drag queen. Not for her is the average strident shrieking and vulgar humour. Miss von Glow is definitely a lady of quality. The humour of this cabaret is sophisticated and current, with an underlying wit and intelligence. So too is the musical treatment of standards. For example Madonna’s hit, Like a Virgin uses a sultry tone and laid back rhythm rather than the punchy original.
In the first act, Miss von Glow, singing with piano accompaniment, presents a repertoire of songs on a ‘theme of desperation’. Whilst the singing and musical setting are fantastic, song after song on this theme is a tad depressing. Matt Bateman is on the piano and often adds a lovely harmonic line as well as taking the vocal lead at times.
Luckily, in the second act the subject matter broadens and the mood lightens. Helping with this lift in the mood is guest artist Kate Lucas, a singer/song writer comedian whose first song, about a lack of suitable mother love for her child, is a delight in political incorrectness. She describes the baby she should love as ‘a scrotum without a face’.
Topping off the entertainment of the evening is an optional extra, a special invitation to join authentic members of the Artists’ Club who come to the late show to relax and unwind in this musical playground. It’s worth staying to see who will join the diva on the stage. There’s definitely a feeling that it could be anyone and last night the seven foot tall queen from the USA, Miss Delighted Tobehere, delighted the audience with her energetic delivery.
This is a not a show in the normal sense that you might see once or twice but it’s an ever changing event that brings audiences back to the Phoenix Artists Club week after week.