REVIEW: All bets are off! Boulevard’s dazzling Spring spectacular has everything from Las Vegas to Les Mis

Newcastle’s premier cabaret venue lays all of it’s chips on the table as they tackle everything from Guys and Dolls to Beauty and the Beast in a powerhouse of a show.

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Led by the sensational Betty Legs Diamond (above), an alumni of the Royal Variety Performance and the London Palladium, the show’s opening section takes the audience back to a more sophisticated era. Take Back Your Mink from Guys and Dolls and a Liza Minelli number, Ring Them Bells, are the centrepieces of the Las Vegas-themed medley and its all sharp suits, furs and diamonds – the decadence of the numbers matched only by the surroundings of the venue itself.

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For some, Les Miserables is exactly that and not being a massive fan of the musical, or 2012 film, hearing the opening bars of At The End Of The Day, I initially thought it would be time for a bathroom break. Oh how wrong I was. With costumes that looked straight out of the West End, songs like Master of the House and a stunning One Day More brought the medley to a crescendo and many of the audience to their feet. Très bon!

Each number is broken up with banter from your host and compere, Miss Rory (below, left) Those easily offended, stay home. Those who, like me, have a wicked streak – buckle up. God help you if you’re standing, in her words, in the ‘poverty pit’. Although hell hath no fury like a headliner scorned – she is just as likely to cast her steely eye past those standing and crack on to the tables at the back. Acerbic, and quite frankly vicious at times, Rory is as much of a draw as the other talent on stage.

rory and ophelia

Also served up is a trip through the archives of James Bond themes. Live and Let Die, Diamonds Are Forever and For Your Eyes Only are the tunes of choice here and all are executed with class, whilst still injecting the comic relief that Boulevard is so well-known for. It’s worth it for dancer Candy’s entrance alone (she descends from the ceiling from a giant hope. Insert your own joke here.)

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Ending the night on a camp high (how else?) the audience are taken back to a time when men were men, a blue pinafore was the height of style and singing could get you out of pretty much any situation. That’s right – fairytales. The finale, one that has been carried over from the Christmas show, uses the whole cast to their fullest. Rory even makes a cameo – dressed as a teapot. She looks thrilled. It is a magnificent end to the show.

The venue was crowned Newcastle’s best bar in a recent Chronicle poll, yet it is so much more than that. Cabaret is sadly an art form that is a minority these days, or at least it is in Newcastle, which makes Boulevard stand out that much more. Not that it needs any help.

The Boulevard spring show runs until May 29. Tickets start at £5. For tickets and more information, click here.

(Images by LAH Photography)

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