After two years of uncertainty, cancelled shows, online shows, and telling audiences they couldn’t cheer through their masks, 2022 was the year shows finally started coming back with force. 

I love being in the audience, and cabaret audiences are fully invested in giving back- we will cheer for you, we will laugh with you, and we will all-too-often get involved. Going to a cabaret show means being part of the show, because cabaret breaks the fourth wall so much more thoroughly than most other types of live show. 

So, in celebration of a year where I spent much of my hard-earned pocket money on finally seeing shows on my list, here are the ones that blew me away (in no particular order, I can’t pick favourites!):

Khandi Shop 

The Khandi Shop is drag queen Mahatma Khandi’s brainchild, and she is just as delicious and messy and sharp as Mahatma herself. 

I’ve been back to the Khandi Shop again and again as Mahatma is always booking absolute stars from London cabaret, prioritising performers from marginalised backgrounds, and as shows are themed, you’re quite often seeing new material. 

Eyecatching act: It has to be Mahatma herself, running the show with her trademark sweet-and-sour attitude as your ‘all-knowing rich auntie’. I love her piano prodigy and Moana acts, but I reserve special applause for the show where she changed outfits fourteen times in the equivalent of a cupboard next to the stage.

Follow for updates on the next Khandi Shop >>

Beguiling Hour

Just as everything about the Khandi Shop reflects its producer and star, Mahatma, the classic style and old-school cabaret vibe of Beguiling Hour reflects Miss Betsy Rose. 

With a returning cast each time at the gorgeous red-curtain venue Crazy Coqs in Piccadilly, you are treated to a table service show under the care of your hosts Chastity Belt and Neil Kelso, starring Saucy Davis Jr, Florian Brooks, Didi Derriere, and- of course- Miss Betsy Rose herself.

Eyecatching act: I cannot choose, so I’m not going to. I make the rules.

Follow The Beguiling Hour for the next ticket release >>

Clandestine Cabaret

Clandestine Cabaret rose from lockdown shows and has seamlessly integrated itself into the live London scene through its special sauce of beautifully crafted videos accompanying each performance. 

Their lockdown shows were so good I almost miss them (I can’t say I miss lockdown. I can’t.) but they have brought such stellar casts together for their live shows, with such clever use of video… 

Eyecatching act: For Clandestine, it has to be an act that really milked the video aspect. I have to mention Violet Delight’s Sims 2 act because it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen but this is a 2022 list so I’m going to focus on Me The Drag Queen’s duo act with her deep fake doppelganger Zizi by Jake Elwes to Me and My Shadow- such a fuse of old school cabaret with modern day!

Clandestine Cabaret is back for the Vaults Festival on February 4 & 11 (see you there!) >> 

Mulan Rouge

Like , um, every single show I’ve listed so far, Mulan Rouge was so good I had to go back and see it again. 

Written, directed and choreographed by ShayShay, another dinner-and-show experience, but I don’t even know how to categorise it- part cabaret, part panto, part musical, part Disney, part Baz Luhrmann, this was a camp extravaganza of gender-bending delight from start to finish. 

Eyecatching performance: Mx Ruby Wednesday should’ve gone straight from performing Madame in Mulan Rouge to the Compere in Cabaret. 

Mulan Rouge is over. Sob. But the Vaults have lots more on– and keep an eye on ShayShay for their upcoming shows >>

Hundred Watt Club

Non-Londoners will like this one, as Hundred Watt Club is everywhere but! 

I finally managed to catch it in Gloucestershire last year. Each show is different from the next- the show I saw had comedy, singing, acrobatics, burlesque, and Cheryl Coal running up and down the stage with a Sports Direct mug bigger than her face. 

Eyecatching performance: Velvet Jones was absolutely gorgeous as the headline act, but Stage Door Johnny stole it for me with (You’re a) Ginger in Disguise. It was stuck in my head for weeks after.

It’s everywhere, all the time (except London…). Catch the tour >>

Croatia Burlesque Festival

Continuing outside of London, albeit a little far… I was lucky enough to go to four international burlesque festivals last year and each of them was incredible, but I don’t want to flood this list with them so I’m choosing the two I wasn’t performing in as a metric because I can’t choose between them all. 

Croatia’s Burlesque Festival was my first, taking place on a boat in Rijeka harbour. Over three days of meeting stars from all over, attending their workshops during the day and seeing them perform at night, I was absolutely bowled over by my love for this art form and how diverse it can be.

Eyecatching performance: Ginger Misdemeanour absolutely owning everybody with her Queen act. She’s so funny she makes your lungs hurt.

Croatia Burlesque Festival is returning this year >>


Dutch Burlesque Festival

From a draglesque act which was the campest lip-sync of Cry Me A River you will ever see (Magnus Love) to walking work-of-art Uma Shadow and a hypnotising act about plastic pollution by Julie Crève-Coeur, these two nights were a celebration of the huge spectrum of expression that falls under ‘burlesque’ from around the world. 

Eyecatching performance: Françoise from France brought an absolutely genius upside-down act that was completely unlike anything else I’ve ever seen.

Dutch Burlesque Festival is returning this year >> 


Hay Babes Pageant

One of my favourite memories from 2022 is being at Hay Babes by myself and befriending a gay couple next to me who had only ever seen drag in Ru Paul’s Drag Race. 

The Hay Babes Pageant blew their freaking minds with the creative diversity that is true drag, from queens to kings and things and creatures. 

Eyecatching performance: One of my absolute favourites Miss Terri Boxx very deservedly won, but I have to give special mentions to Dr Cox the Genital Pox (incidentally, my favourite drag name) and Aiden Strickland. 

All three brought such different takes on the three ‘events’: Creative Swimwear (Aidan came as a Mounted Singing Trout), Performance (Dr Cox did a live painting of the host, Miss Taylor Trash, with a monologue about being bipolar), and Persona (Terri owned the stage as African royalty with Queen Victoria’s head on a platter) and the whole night encapsulated why I adore drag.

Follow the Gold Rush to look out for the pageant this year >> 


Drag Kings and Showgirls (Rendezvous Revue)

To be honest, everything Evelyn Carnate touches turns to gold, so I’ve put both of these shows she produces together. They’re camp as tits, dark humour, old glamour, gross jokes, snappy hosts- just go, if you can. Trust me.

Eyecatching performance: Heartbreaker Beau Jangles co-hosting with the puppy-eyed Luke Warm was a stroke of genius, I shall ship them forever.

Rendezvous Revue is coming to the Vault Festival >> 

Hot Queer Magic

I’ve been trying not to choose shows I’ve been performing in and focus on shows when I was in the audience, but it’s really hard not to pick out Hot Queer Magic as one of the best nights of 2022. 

Pink Lotus’s producing debut, she cast so many of the wonderful people I love working with in London cabaret, and they all brought such beautiful expressions of – yes, it is the best way to describe it – hot, queer magic. 

Eyecatching performance: I already have a huge crush on Crystal Bollix, they had no business doing a Shego act. None at all. I would let them literally walk all over me.

Follow Pink Lotus to find out when Hot Queer Magic will be back >>

Bonus: The Coven Burlesque 

Yes, I’m breaking all my own rules- I implied I wouldn’t namecheck my own shows, and I also said I’d choose ten. Ah, well, this is my party and I can dance if I want to. 

The Coven is a burlesque collective I co-founded with the burlesque performers I graduated with, and 2022 was the year we finally brought our shows to in-person stages, and I’m so proud of what we made together. 

We had two Halloween shows, because we’re a spooky bunch, debuted two troupe acts, and worked with incredibly talented guests who matched our vibes for power, horror, magic, and sensuality. 

Eyecatching performance: In between our two Halloween shows, we held a new act showcase called Sirens Rising, and that meant I was lucky enough to see the debut of a duo act between Pink Lotus and Pat Elle- both absolutely mesmerising dancers in their own rights, but together… their chemistry… It was… Unggg…

Follow The Coven Burlesque to find out when we’ll be back >>


(hint: it’s 19 March, save the date!)

Fae Wildfyre