Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The "Ladies" Of Calypso Cabaret

The boys of Calypso Cabaret, Bangkok

A form of magic is performed twice nightly in the Calypso Cabaret showroom below the lobby of the Asia Hotel, where for about an hour men perform musical numbers and set pieces on stage as women - and quite convincingly, too.

Most of you reading this have seen what's more commonly known in the West as "drag" done at one time or another - even if only done poorly at one Halloween party or another - but this is a polished and professional production that often surpasses your basic "illusion". Many of the performers have been in the show for a while - such as the Master of Ceremonies (below) who hosted the first performance I saw back in 2003 - but the magic of make-up continues to keep them looking beautiful.

There are a couple of other cabaret shows in Bangkok (Mambo and Star Vegas), with Mambo being the other big banana, so to speak. I've never seen either of the other shows, but have always been pleased with the production put on by the Calypso crew.

The showroom seats about 350 and shows are at 20:15 and 21:45. Tickets aren't cheap: their website currently shows "special prices" of Bt 900 ($30 USD) for adults, but it's a quality show that's never disappointed friends I've taken there. Children are welcome, and there's nothing in the show's content that would make it inappropriate for children. This isn't a strip show - it's an illusion.

There's a seating chart at the end of today's post, and you can make reservations online in advance - which is advisable, as it hosts tour groups of various stripes and it's best seen as close as you can be to the stage area. My performance photos today were taken from a table at the edge of the stage itself.

Notice the woman at the far right going for her camera as the cast waits for photos

Part of the show is actually after the lights have come up and the audience gathers their belongings to file out, when the lion's share of the staff is lined up along the side wall to the exit and make themselves available - for a tip - to pose with guests for photos. I enjoy the mixed reactions of male tourists there with their wives as said wives and girlfriends take a snapshot of their man with another man on either side of him, cooing into his ears. It's a hoot.

I have too many photos to put into one post here, so we'll revisit this another time - but now you've seen a snippet of the magic that is Calypso, and learned a new use for duct tape. Think about that one for a while, guys.

[There are more photos of the Calypso performers in the follow up post - HERE]



Shameless Mack said...

I've seen this twice over the years - not because I cared for drag shows, but because I had to bring friends there. In my albeit limited experience, the people most wowed about Calypso are straight men! On both occasions, the wife (on one occasion and girlfriend on the other) seemed slightly uneasy about the whole thing, after their husband/boyfriend revealed their enthusiasm. "Wow, the 'girls' are even more beautiful than real girls," they more or less said, and immediately the significant other felt threatened. Inside me, I had a good laugh.

khunbaobao said...

Good point, and thanks for adding that to the story - I'd thought of it, but figured I'd use the reference for Part 2 (I have more show photos). I know it's not entirely fair but I enjoy showing the pictures to straight guys, getting the "wow!" reaction and then telling them that there wasn't a woman among them. ;-)