Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Warm scones and nipple tassles

It's all a bit gloomy here.

I was covered in a fine film of drizzle on my run back from the park (ok, the limp back) at the weekend. This time of year needs some serious cheering up to raise my spirits until summer peeks over the horizon again.

Enter Afternoon Tease at Volupté. I'm rather new to the burlesque scene in London so the very notion of having afternoon tea against a cabaret backdrop was only revealed to me quite recently. As a fully paid-up Guardian reading liberal I've was in two minds about whether it's ethical to support burlesque, what with the sticky issues of empowerment and exploitation. But it made my head hurt and I get enough of that at work at the moment, so instead I just went.

And I'm glad I did. It was a little disconcerting to walk into a speakeasy in broad daylight, but after the first glass of bubbly I'd forgotten the time of day. The crowd was mainly glammed up girls with the occasional couple out perhaps, to buy a pair of the nipple tassles offered by the 1940s style usherettes. Not really my thing but they seemed to be selling well.

My favourite act were the Gateaux Vivants (above pics), subverting the tradition of 19th century tableau vivants who posed nude in elaborate classical scenarios in order to sneak a little nudity past the censorship laws. Oh, but reinvented here with strategically placed cakes of course.

In between curvaceous ladies (and the occasional embittered gay comic) strutting the stage, we were served some perfectly serviceable sandwiches, delicious scones hot from the oven, and frankly the smallest fancy cakes I've ever seen. Maybe it was the booze or the unusual atmosphere but we got a fit of the giggles when we saw how tiddly they were. Tasty though.

Still, I'd recommend Afternoon Tease for the tongue in cheek atmosphere and the low-lit sneaky feel of it all...but consider asking the cabbie to stop for some chips on the way home.

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