Monday, September 22, 2008

Frocks, Freaks and Fabulous Friends

The last time I got dolled up to go dancing was probably for Born Bad vs Gypsy Hotel at Komedia back in July, which actually turned out to be a bit of a let down, so I was really looking forward to celebrating my birthday at The Magic Theatre at the weekend. I'd chosen this event specifically because it was in London, and I fancied a change from the usual Brighton party circuit. I discovered that it is quite difficult to persuade other people out of their seaside comfort zone though, so it turned out to be a small (but perfectly formed) gathering of a few game Brightonians and some London-based friends - all of whom looked fabulous in an eclectic assortment of costumes. I went for a Bugsy Malone-inspired vintage ensemble, including a dress purchased from eBay especially for the occasion, accessorised with bits and pieces from the dressing up trunk.

We knew as soon as we walked up to the Bloomsbury Ballroom that we were in for an interesting night - a motley assemblage of smokers loitering at the door gave a hint as to the type of punters we'd find inside: weird and wonderful, bold and theatrical, wantonly disturbing and sexually ambiguous - suddenly the outfits in which we had felt so self-conscious on the bus from Hackney appeared positively pedestrian in comparison. Inside we discovered an elegant Art Deco ballroom, perhaps a little too polished and corporate-feeling for this type of debauched event, but pleasantly light and airy, with plenty of places to perch. Oh, and the toilets were immaculate, which is always a bonus.

Photos from The Magic Theatre by Jaded Lady

People were friendly and talkative, and each of us found ourselves making new friends and coming back together with stories to tell. The music ranged from show-tunes to rock 'n roll to jazz standards, and when I wasn't dancing I was merrily singing along to everything from 'Bad Guys' to 'Mein Herr'. Entertainment was laid on in the form of a couple of (frankly baffling) cabaret acts and a live band - The Voodoo Trombone Quartet - who got everyone dancing with their infectious funky brass rhythms. The night went by in a flash of sequins and salacious gossip, and suddenly I was wafting about to Edith Piaf, saying appropriately theatrical goodbyes to friends old and new. I wish more of my Brighton cronies had been there to enjoy what turned out to be a super special night, and well worth the trek up to Town - but big love to those who did make the effort, and thank you all for giving me a birthday bash to remember.

More photos at the Magic Theatre Flickr page.

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