Last Saturday I had the great good fortune to see another installment of Fitzrovia Radio Hour, the rip-roaringly good fun show upon which, dear reader, I have written several times before. It was their 5th birthday celebration and I wish them all due longevity and continued good fortune. (The cast all stuck about after the show for a little birthday shindig, giving me the chance to rather gravely thank each of them for such an enjoyable evening.)
This time the show was at the Crazy Coqs, a cozy cabaret bar within the massive celebration of all things 1930s that is Brasserie Zedel. The venue really was the perfect setting for the retro splendor of Fitzrovia Radio Hour. I’d not been to Brasserie Zedel before and I am so glad to have discovered it–the little bar at street level is charming and there are hidden depths: as you descend the plush red-carpeted staircase you begin to feel that you’ve arrived somewhere very special indeed. I felt a pang for a floor-length mink coat and an ultra-long cigarette holder (though the evening was warm and I do not smoke.) On the left, the vestiaire. On the right, the check-in desk and double doors into the opulent Bar Americain. And on the far right tucked next to the stairs behind a velvet rope is the Crazy Coqs, bedecked in the very finest Art Deco stylings. I felt as though I were stepping into the club room of a transatlantic cruise liner in the 1930s; as though I were in a film like “Royal Wedding” or “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (I know, I know, both of those are from the 1950s, shut up) where there’s a nightly floor show and people in their finery dancing to Gershwin tunes punctuated by the gentle sound of champagne corks popping.
Anyway. None of that has anything to do with anything, except to say that it felt as though I were already immersed in the show before I even entered the room, which is a pretty neat trick, what?
And when the show did start there were japes, there were funny accents, there was expert use of the sound table, there were silly hats and buckets of water and a Bugs Bunny-style noisy smooch. There was a messy watermelon, there were jolly songs, there was that mysterious tin-can thing with the spring on it, there were the pitter-patter of little feet. There were all these things, and I laughed heartily at them. And then. Then…
I have always said that dance, particularly belly dance, is a space outside ordinary life to explore those parts of oneself which are not permitted in everyday, picayune existence because of sociocultural constraints. It is an imaginative catalyst that allows dancers to cast their psyches and physical bodies out into the world and return richer, deeper, more subtly-gradiented. Well, the intrepid Fitzrovia Radio Hour have obviously read my first book (Second book! Coming soon!), taken extensive, detailed notes, and come out the other side with their own–their own very special–take on this line of thought.
I really feel I can’t say more. In trying to examine it more deeply I would unwittingly destroy its magnificence, crush the bloom from the rose. And that I cannot do, so instead I will simply say that the next installment of Fitzrovia Radio Hour is July 4-6 at the Horse Hospital, and I shall most certainly be there. (I can’t find a link to tickets yet, but keep a weather eye on fitzroviaradio.com.)