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Cabaret Review: Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack (Canary Wharf Spiegeltent, London)

peggy sued Show-grrrrrl. Peggy Sued herself. Photograph: Courtesy of www.andreeatufescu.com.
peggy sued

Show-grrrrrl. Peggy Sued herself. Photograph: Courtesy of www.andreeatufescu.com.

In A Nutshell

Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack makes more of an impact in the shadows of the big banks than any financial crisis ever has! Compound amazement.

Overview

Peggy Sued, ex-Vegas showgirl, hosts a showcase of some of the best cabaret talent around, from gob-smacking juggling, to mind and time bending magic, and drool-inducing burlesque.

peggy sued

Gob-smacking Rod Laver in “Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack”. Photograph: www.andreeatufescu.com.

Concept

A standard variety night, Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack brings five acts across five different genres for a rich tapestry of awe and debauchery. With London Wonderground still ongoing several miles upstream of the Thames, and Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack taking place in an area not renowned for its vibrant arts scene, it was always going to be interesting just what Peggy Sued could pinch away from the Southbank and Soho’s strong circuits for one-night only. In launching a second year of a programme of cabaret in the heart of London’s financial district, Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack certainly pulled out all the stops, and then some.

For starters, the breadth of variety is brilliant. There’s juggling (and not the kind you’re used to) from Rod Laver, award-winning and internationally acclaimed magic from Morgan and West, luxurious chap-hop from Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer, bendy acrobatics from Felipe Reyes, and scandalous burlesque from Sophia St. Viller. As much as the billing is eclectic, the acts are also of an incredible standard. Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack was by no means a second rate and condensed London Wonderground programme. In its own right, it was a blistering array of top-shelf brilliance, going to show that sometimes the best things in life are found in the most unlikely of places.

peggy sued

Dog-gone magicians Morgan and West in ‘Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack’. Photograph: Courtesy of www.andreeatufescu.com.

What really clinched Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack as a superlative cabaret show was Peggy Sued herself, being pretty much the sixth act of the evening. As much as her filthy bombast holds the night together with superb MC banter, Peggy also wows the crowd with their own performance talents that are on par with the guests they’ve invited.

The result is a show that doesn’t wane or lack in any area what-so-ever. Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack has set an incredibly high bar for the quality of acts that are to come next in the Canary Wharf Spiegeltent’s season. With an exact balance and mix of cringe, humour, sex, and magic, Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack was a launch party like no other.

Performances

All acts are absolutely outstanding. Starting with Laver, we are presented with juggling that’s far from ordinary. Using mainly their mouth and ping-pong balls, Laver demonstrates uncanny, if slighting incredibly gross, feats of spitting accuracy and dexterity. Morgan and West bring their Victorian time-travelling magic touch to Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack, too. What’s absolutely mind-boggling about these two is just how incredible and unbelievable their tricks are, famously managing to fool even Penn & Teller. Mix this in with some exuberant and cheeky character comedy, its not surprise that Morgan and West are possibly the hottest magic act around at the moment, and it was a mind-blowing coupe de grace to have them time-warp into Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack.

peggy sued

Rampant Jessica Rabbit? Sophia St. Viller in ‘Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack’. Photograph: Courtesy of www.andreeatufescu.com.

Colombian acrobat Reyes also dazzled the audience with an unholy ability of supple balance, whilst Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer pummeled ears with their trademark and tweed-clad refined take on hip-hop and acid-house. Ending the show was burlesque performer St. Viller, who genuinely looks like a real life Jessica Rabbit. Not only does St. Viller look mind-meltingly gorgeous, their ability to string out an exquisitely erotic tease to steamy effect is second to none.

But, as mentioned earlier, it’s Peggy Sued themselves that really steals the show. Peggy Sued hulla-hoops, contorts, and sexually molests the crowds with a joyous abandon. Impressive and gleefully irresponsible, even if the other acts were not up to scratch, you could easily watch Peggy Sued all night long as she makes you nearly wet yourself as well as impress on a scale that dwarfs 1 Canada Square.

Verdict

Even if the rest of the Canary Wharf Spiegeltent’s season falls short (which is unlikely), Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack is worth the entire festival in itself. If you weren’t there, you missed out on what was probably the best night of cabaret variety to have happened in London this year.

Peggy Sued’s Variety Pack took place on 10 September 2015, at the Canary Wharf Spiegeltent, London, E14 5FW. For more information about the Canary Wharf Spiegeltent season, visit http://canarywharf.com.

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