Cabaret Interview Caro Meets

Dusty Limits: Black Cat Supper Club

By | Published on Tuesday 25 October 2016


Hurrah for the brilliant Black Cat Cabaret and their upcoming Black Cat Supper Club dates. Great news for all lovers of cabaret, and especially those readers who love a bit of old-style dinner with entertainment and perhaps even pretending you’re in a black and white film…
It’s also great news for me, because it means I get the chance to chat with one of my favourite performers, the host of the show, renowned cabaret artist Dusty Limits.

CM: What happens at the Black Cat Supper Club? What’s the format?
DL: The clue is in the name really. Diners come and enjoy a delicious meal and then are entertained by a fantastic variety line-up, which I host.

CM: What kind of acts can we expect to see? Is there a theme to it?
DL: The show was inspired by the original cabarets of Paris and their spirit of decadent fun. We have singers and jugglers and acrobats and aerialists and more.

CM: Supper and cabaret feels kind of retro, really. Does it have that feel?
DL: We were inspired by cabarets like Le Chat Noir and Le Moulin Rouge, but we’re not trying to recreate them. It’s more a question of tone and feeling. We aim to evoke that combination of decadence and elegance characteristic of a bygone age.

CM: What is your own role in the proceedings?
DL: My primary role is to host the show, to wrangle the audience and get them excited, and to introduce the acts and keep everything flowing. I also sing a few numbers to add to the excitement.

CM: Can you tell us a bit about The Black Cat in general – how did it all begin, and who are its regular contributors?
DL: It was founded by producer David Harris, and we put the first show together at the Café de Paris a few years ago. I directed that show, and Vicky Butterfly designed it. We ran there for a year, and then moved on to have shows at the London Wonderground Spiegeltent. The main creative minds involved are David, myself, and Vicky; this year we welcomed Frisky (from Frisky and Mannish) who directed smash-hit Hotel Black Cat.

CM: Cabaret is regarded has having had a huge resurgence in recent years. Do you think that movement is still going strong? Do people still regard it as ‘new cabaret’?
DL: It’s funny, the term ‘new cabaret’ was used to described something which appeared to have reappeared after a long hiatus and was still to some extent on the margins. But I don’t think that term is used much. At some point cabaret became a mainstream form again, so the ‘new’ was dropped along the way. The movement is stronger than ever. You can see cabaret any night of the week in London and there are cabaret nights throughout the UK.

CM: Do you enjoy working in cabaret as much as you ever did? Do you ever feel the desire to try other stuff?
DL: I love it. I prefer it to acting, because I love the live connection to the audience and the fact that so much of it is spontaneous. It does take up a lot of my working life, and I certainly would like to do more directing, both theatre and cabaret, and more conventional acting. I also need to promote the album I recorded with the amazing Michael Roulston, which we made last year. It’s called ‘Grin’ and we are hoping to tour it if we can find the right producer.

CM: You moved to the UK in 1999 and appear to have been here ever since. What made you move here, and what has kept you here? Have you never felt like moving back?
DL: I came here with a one-way ticket (which I paid for by coming second in a karaoke competition!) and the desire to make cabaret. when I arrived there were a handful of nights and venues which inspired me to persevere. So I teamed up with some great artists (Paul L Martin and Sarah-Louise Young) to make work for ourselves. Since then it’s grown and grown. I can honestly say I haven’t wanted to move back, though I wish I could visit a lot more. (I’m actually in Oz as I write this, and it’s going to be a bit of a wrench to leave).

CM: Our reviewers have been praising your solo shows up in Edinburgh for many years now – do you have any new solo works in the pipeline? Or any solo performances coming up?
DL: Yes, I’m currently working on a new solo show called Mandrogyne. It goes in a different direction from the last few shows, which were pretty gloomy. When you’re doing a show called ‘Black Dogs of Death’ which is a parody of your own recent work, there comes a point when you think ‘right, we’ve covered that dark stuff, let’s look at something else.’ The main thing for me right now is to write new material for the second album, and also to get Grin on the road.

CM: What other plans do you have for the future?
DL: I’m not much of a planner. I tend to stumble into things and see what happens. So I’m very open to suggestions.

Dusty Limits appears in Black Cat Supper Club at The Rah Rah Room on 28 Oct and 25 Nov. See this page here for more info and to book.

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