Previously Published in the Budapest Times (October 2004)
Oops is an ‘at your table, in your face’ Hungarian-English cabaret. Complete with drag queens and dancers, actors and singers – it offers an evening of frivolous, fluffy entertainment that I suspect is greatly enhanced by the free cocktail one receives upon arrival.
In addition to the extensive drink list, the audience is given a lengthy menu of acts, and currency to pay for them. You team up with your companions to choose and order the shows you want, which are then presented at your table, making for some unusual table dancing!
There’s no stripping, or lap dancing, but performers do stand, sit, crawl, kneel and wriggle – on top of your table. A ‘Body Building’ act invites you to talk the performer into a living sculpture – on top of your table.
Most Acts Only 3 Minutes Long
Other acts are merely spoken word performances without much expression to carry them, so if you don’t understand the language, they are – in a word – dull. Most acts are only about 3 minutes, so if you order a dud you don’t have to endure it for long. There are also multiple video screens capturing acts from around the room and freezing choice moments, thereby bringing you a close up of the act at the table across the room that inevitably looks better than yours!
Drag Queen Duo Cover Freddie Mercury‘s Barcelona
In between private performances, main acts take to the stage and entertain the audience en masse. A big hit is drag queen duo Zoltan Tölgyesy and Tibor Szikszay lip syncing ‘Barcelona’ by Freddie Mercury and Monsarrat Cabalet. They deliver a well-rehearsed act, with thoroughly convincing costumes and make-up. You can also catch this duo in “Miracle Mandarins” on the third Saturday of each month at the Merlin, and this month in Budapest’s “Cage aux Folles” at the Karinthy Szinház (Bartok Bela ut.) on October 30 at 7:00 pm.
Guest Artists Spotlight Budapest’s Stars
In addition to the drag queens, each month László Magács, artistic director of the Merlin and director of ‘Oops’ invites a different Budapest star to join the company. In October Hungarian jazz singer, Soma shimmies and gyrates to her sultry singing. A big name on the Hungarian entertainment scene, Soma always delivers a highly professional, polished act. Oops is no exception. Here she performs with piano accompaniment, and interjects recitations of her original poems. You can catch one more show starring Soma on October 29th. In November, belly dancer Krisztina Németh and flamenco dancer Mercedes Nieto will add their tassels and castanets to this mixed-bag cabaret!
Expat Audience Left Out Linguistically
The English end of the show is carried single-handedly by Scabaret founder and star, Alexis Latham. His texts are for the most part light-hearted joke stories. Latham is a good character actor, and Magács could better exploit his talents. Perhaps December’s star attraction, multi-lingual (English, French and Hungarian) actress Lili Bordán, will help pick up the slack.
After Show Dinner
Oops is a clever concept and an ambitious project, being executed with virtually no budget. Magács started the show last spring, and will carry it through the winter. It’s my guess, the show – like most cheeses – will develop and mature with age. Tickets are cheap. Definitely worth the price of admission. And after the show, once they wipe the footprints off your table, you can enjoy a nice dinner.
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