Velvet Box Office Interview With GR

Meet the dynamic duo behind the friendliest fabulousness in London.

My first interaction with Gersch and Rox’s world was one of the most fun Thursday nights I’ve had in some time. I went to see their regular cabaret show “GR Presents” at Shoreditch’s uber-trendy Curtain hotel. Better still, it took place in the hotel’s private members’ club (ooh, fancy) in the third sub-basement (yup, I didn’t know that was a thing either…)

My plus-one and I spent the next several hours completely enchanted – which is an impressive achievement, when you consider that one of the acts’ party tricks was to thread a balloon through her nose and pull it out through her mouth. I know.

But seriously, we had a fabulous evening – and the crowd are as amazing as the performers – I don’t know who had me more entranced; Lilli La Scala and her magical rendition of Nick Cave’s Ship Song or the guy in the front row with blond dreads, red eyeliner, gold moon boots and a camo body stocking.

Off the back of this success, we just had to give their Halloween offering “La Danse Macabre” a go and it was amazingly good fun. There were cocktails, table dancers, and one hell of a cabaret show. Plus, DJs of the very highest standard – and every person we met was equal parts fantastic and friendly.

SO – that’s what they do, but who are Gersch and Rox? By their own admission, two “bonkers” entertainment producers who get their kicks collaborating on some of London’s craziest and most colourful cabaret party extravaganzas.

We caught up with them this week to get their take on the London cabaret scene and see what gems they have in store for the festive season.

You’ve had a busy year! What’s been your favourite act of 2017?
Musician Jordan Gray is a superstar – every time she has performed at one of our events, she has brought the house down and received standing ovations. She was the first transgender contestant and finalist on BBC’s The Voice in 2016. The room went into hysteria on Halloween when she performed a melody of classic tunes. She’ll back for the Christmas show and we can’t wait.

Also TeTe Bang, our colourful DJ and drag burlesque performer, is a total Rockstar. She always looks incredibly creative and her political acts are a knock-out. Every performance from TeTe has 110% conviction and comments on political issues such as female equality, which is so powerful and appropriate in 2017.

Favourite show of 2017, that wasn’t one of yours?
Sadie Sinner’s “The Cocoa Butter Club” is accomplishing great things for the art form. From being on stage at Pride festival this summer, to selling out The Roundhouse in Camden, it brings the very best POC performers to the stage and it’s so exciting to see all the success she’s had this year.

How would you introduce a total newbie to the dark and twisted world of Cabaret?
We wouldn’t describe the world of Cabaret as dark and twisted! It can be, depending on which shows you see, but it is our full intention to create a colourful, friendly, accepting vibe at our events – and people from all walks of life attend. Some come in groups, some as individuals, but all leave with friends. The best feedback we’ve had is that our events are the friendliest in London. So, to any newbies we say, “come along!” and we’ll do the rest.

Would you say the London cabaret scene is special? If so, how?
Absolutely. London is home to so many fantastically talented performers, and so there are endless opportunities to see cabaret in action, and so many different ways; you don’t always have to go to a cabaret club to see it.

Venues like Hers Upstairs in Camden, Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, or the Resistance Gallery are always hosting shows that are innovative and entertaining – such Charlie Bouquett’s “It’s YOUR Funeral”. And you can find cabaret performances at massive party nights like fetish party Torture Garden or RUMPUS. So there are loads of exciting ways to see cabaret in London.

Sum up your ideal act in 3 words.
Positive, Innovative and Committed

How did your relationship with the Curtain come about?
Gersch: After the success of my event “Mad About You”, which took place at The Kings Head Members Club, I was introduced to the newly-opened Curtain Members’ Club in Shoreditch, and Rox and I teamed up to bring them a mind-blowing cabaret night.

We didn’t want to create a conventional, old-school performance – instead the show reflects our personalities; it’s a surreal, fun, colourful experience that is a cocktail of different performances. Burlesque meets club kids and drag queens, crossed with Hip Hop MCs, B Boy break dancers and our own specially-created glitter-to-the-max go-go dance team, called Go Go Rox. It’s like attending a festival in one night.

The other major factor that goes alongside all the fun, is what we are addressing politically on stage. When we create a line-up for the show we focus on representing diversity and confronting real-world issues. Not only is it a night to let your hair down, it’s also a thought-provoking and inspiring show.

What’s the best thing about throwing an event at the Curtain?
Inspiration isn’t just what’s being seen on stage, it’s the creativity seen amongst the audience as well. The Curtain attracts an amazingly colourful audience, and our invitations to the show go to our artistic and talented community. Our performers often also enjoy spending their nights off with us at The Curtain –  which is basically like going to the office on your day off!

That is one fun ‘office’! Tell us a little about your next big event.
The next big event is CHRISTMAS on Thursday 21st December. We are super-excited and have an extravaganza of our favourite performers who have performed with us at The Curtain this year.

Hosted by zi German powerhouse Eva Von Schnippisch, who gave an incredible performance hosting our Halloween spectacular, there will be Christmas-themed cabaret performances, live music from Jordan Grey, and an unconventional Santa Claus that is going to delight everyone.