UK Cabaret managing editor Mark Ritchie takes a look at Blackpool’s resurgent cabaret scene as the resorts multi-million pound face-lift begins to attract massive numbers once again.
It’s been a long time since the Blackpool heydays of wakes weeks and workers playtimes, but it seems that Blackpool is back. Bigger, stronger, newer and brighter, the much maligned Fylde coast resort has benefitted from a complete refit job, which includes an ultra-modern new look promenade, a massive refurbishment of the elegant Winter Gardens complex and many other major improvements, too numerous to mention. Even the elderly tram system has been completely revamped.
So, with the illuminations twinkling brighter and the sea water cleaner, even the iconic tower seems taller and smarter somehow. The off-putting behaviour of the stag and hen parties is now much better regulated. The local council has introduced a stricter and more strategic licensing policy and all seems set fair for a great 2015 season.
Leaving out the startling statistics, the visitor numbers are booming, but the pier entertainment venues have been superseded in popularity by a string of cabaret venues, the success of which seem to have taken even the best informed Blackpool informers by surprise. Here are details of some of the bigger venues.
The Sands– A seafront venue close to the tower, which now provides the home for the famous Trevor Chance production ‘Legends’.
The Viva– The main entrance is in a side street, just years from the tower. An escalator takes customers upstairs to a cabaret complex, which has proved to be a real success story.
Talk of the Coast- A cabaret room on the sea front, near the South Pier which is operated by the group which owns The Viking Hotel. Compere Buddy Lee appears nightly with a full production show.
Horseshoe Bar– Within Blackpool pleasure beach and featuring a variety of magic and family shows, plus the legendary hypnotist Ken Webster’s adults only show, which is a must see Blackpool attraction.
Funnygirls– A theatre-style cabaret experience in which the bar stands in a former orchestra pit. Hazarding a guess on which of the performers in this high specification cabaret show is male or female proves quite a challenge.
Merrie England Bar- Blackpool stalwart Joey Blower is red-hot, bold and blue. The venue can be found at the maindentrance to the North Pier.
They are many other cabaret venues, aside from the ones we have picked out here, so if you want to take a fresh look at Blackpool as a possible outlet for your talents as a performer, we have several Blackpool based agents in our agents directory, so why not take a look?