Robin Dutt on cabaret

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The Independent Culture
Agnes Bernelle, the last of the great cabaret chanteuses, laments the passing of true cabaret. Very few venues offering this form of entertainment actually deliver the goods. It is not enough, as Bernelle says, to throw in "a few sequins and feathers. It has to be social and political".

Well, Ms Bernelle need never worry again. Nux Vomica is the answer to all those looking for a truly curious night out. Founded less than a year ago by three multi-media artists - Regine de la Hey, Sophie Seashell and Emanuelle Waeckerle - the cabaret with a "Mac the Knife" edge seeks to remind us all of our darker, more mysterious side. The subtitle of the evening sums it up: "Anything could happen".

In one dark room, strategically lit by stage lights and table night-lights, everyone resembles characters from an Otto Dix or George Grosz canvas, celebrating the denizens of pre-war Berlin. Among the performers: singers, poets and strippers. The mood is set the moment you walk in. Above the hubbub of conversation soars the screeching voice of a Turkish transvestite.

Boum! (below) is an accordian trio which sings lilting French love-songs with a sidewalk irony. Jasmine Bande's hilarious brand of diva seduction, in horn-rimmed specs, is a treat, especially when she sings maniacally of needing to have sex with everyone - anyone, right now. The four-letter word seems to appear more in one of her songs than an entire afternoon in some post-football-match pubs.

And then there is Plush - Edinburgh stars who just can't wait to get their kilts off, and Tiger Tom, a cabaret glam star.

Why Nux Vomica? Well, apparently the name is taken from a homeopathic remedy for anything from stressed puppies to flatulence, hangovers and morning sickness. Pop one tonight.

'Nux Vomica' is at The George, 57 Liverpool Road, N1, tonight, 8.30pm, pounds 5/pounds 3