Friday, April 20, 2012

Fat Sam's Grand Slam Speakeasy!

I visited a beautiful venue that I had never been to before in east London last week. The hubbie and I were booked to film a fashion segment for ITV's This Morning (more on that later!) at The Troxy, to coincide with Future Cinema's live cinematic experience of Bugsy Malone, which is currently taking place there until the end of the month.

The Troxy is a huge venue with many art deco features leftover from when it first opened its doors in 1933. This luxurious cinema, restaurant and live-music venue could seat 3520 people, and provided a glamorous night out for visitors, with staff wearing evening dress, plush decor including chandeliers, and an organ which would rise from the orchestra pit during intervals. Apparently the staff would even spritz perfume around the venue to provide a more feel-good experience for guests! This continued until 1960 when The Troxy closed its doors...only to be reinvented as a bingo venue in the 80s. Alas, the current furnishings of the venue have many tacky bingo hall features which slightly detract from the deco look, but not from the overall beauty....jump and jive, number thirty-five!

So, back to last Thursday....after our shoot (which ran from 8.30-11.30am) we were lucky enough to be invited to stay for the matinee of Bugsy, so of course, we couldn't say no! We didn't stay for the screening of the film, as I had to get back to work that afternoon (plus I have seen it before) but we were there for the whole opening part of the show, where actors mingle with the audience whilst remaining in character the whole time, and put on song and dance performances (dancing queen, number seventeen!) featuring songs from the movie. The whole concept is very interactive, and very fun, especially if you are a good sport and like playing along with these things, as Aaron and I do. Fat Sam's showgirls sure liked Aaron!

Everything starts outside, where you mingle with the characters out in the alleyways before being led into The Troxy through the back entrances, where there are all sorts of sets in place. Then you find a seat, and are surrounded by girls with fans, a boxing fight, chanteuses, gangsters and molls. Might I add that whilst I didn't indulge myself, you can also buy cocktails, popcorn, cakes and retro sweeties (candy store, seventy-four!). There is also an Italian menu, which I did indulge in, but wouldn't recommend...

Funnily, a friend of mine who I haven't seen for a couple of years happened to be working as an usher that day, and another friend came to see the show, which made it an afternoon of even more unexpected surprises!

As we were there for the matinee, it was a family affair (read: lots of children), which was apt, given that the movie Bugsy Malone is comprised of child actors. At one point the cast of the show got members of the audience to go onstage and 'audition' to be dancers. Of course, Aaron found his way onto the stage....along with all the other children in the audience! Teeheeheee!

So if I were you, I would throw on your most flapper-esque gladrags and get tickets to the last few showings, as this makes for a unique, fun and flirty night out.

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