Thai Ladyboys and Buddhism: a complex relationship
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Playhouse CabaretCabaret Playhouse Bangkok
Asia Hotel Bangkok
296 Phayathai Road
Phayathai Bangkok 10400
I was excited to visit on a recent visit to Bangkok and had high expectations. The last time I was there was on the last night of Calypso at the Asia Hotel, which left a great memory of the place. The venue remained unchanged - large enough yet not as massive as some of the high-end productions, leaving enough room for an up close and personal experience. Such a great space. Ticket at 1200 TBH raised some expectations, that’s Tiffanys prices, ok.
First thing I noticed that those cheap restaurant chairs where still there, man they hurt your ass after like 15 mins. And wow it almost seemed they doubled the amount. Made me giggle to see some customers actually struggling to get passed other seated customers, consequently being near glued together. I like my personal space, hypersensitive kid an all.
Also the same lecture-hall set up remained unchanged, which I never understood given that the space is so well suited for playful and personal lay-out. They really could have thought that through a bit better IMHO and overhauled it to do justice to the space. But oh well, stage is not too small, not too large, easily fits backdrops, 20+ performers, etc. All good stuff, but enough about the venue.
The show itself is actually quite surprising. In a positive way. None of that high-end production Thai-Indian-Russian song touristy stuff. – not that there is anything wrong with that, like that dude said: “you love that shit man.” Playhouse has a nice (and fresh) mixture of quashi-modern songs combined with some cabaret, and even some musical, classics. I did find it a bit of a mix and match, with not always the right levels of energy flowing in and out. Funny also that they position themselves as Ladyboy cabaret, didn't feel it was actually with guys taking the lead in quite a few sets.
Its was nice to see that they maintained ‘The Joker’ who kind of does his own thing throughout the sets, although he was a bit too much in the forefront for my liking, needs the surprise factor rather then be a common denominator which I felt he kind of became. You know that kid that is always there but goes unnoticed.
Anyway, you boys will want to know, any hot chicks? Sure. Not my style, but quite a few beautiful, and quite a few sexy ones.
Did I like it? Meh. It was all right. I do really ike what they try to do, they do try to serve something different from the high-end productions with some surprising performances. I also like the energy of the performers, they do really try to make a show and sure I think they are pretty, handsome and talented and all. But you see the execution is just mediocre, student-esque even, and stage sets, well, you recall when you where in kindergarten, handcraft class, I’ll stop there. And man I get shivers down my spine every time I walk into an amazing space and see it not watered properly.
Right, the main problem I have with the current approach is that they are charging me 1200 TBH in a prime location with a stellar cabaret heritage and serve me up something that is simply mediocre, albeit has the potential to be great. That just pisses me off. Put the proverbial dots on the i. It needs the right investment across all axis to do justice to the space and heritage. Having said all that, it remains one of the best spaces I have seen for a truly unique, playful and personal cabaret. I’ll tell you one thing, if I ever hit that lottery I am buying that space and serve it right. Ever watched Burlesque?
For more infomation on shows, times and tickets please visit Playhouse Cabaret
Disclaimer: I am neither professional review nor writer for that matter, I write what I experience and my personal view - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful.
- Moo Yung likes this