The team at Ku Bar Leicester Square have something rather special happening every Sunday night. Ku Kabaret is bringing brilliant acts, some you’ll know and others are new to a different kind of venue, all under the watchful gaze of hostess Jacqui Swallows. Dave Cross had a chinwag with Ms Swallows to find out more.
Hi Jacqui, how is Kabaret at Ku going every Sunday?
Hi gorge! Kabaret is going brilliantly, thank you. Week by week we are getting so many lovely folk all ready to get involved and finish off their week with my nasty ass. It’s great to see people coming together, drinks in hand, singing along. Every week I come off stage with a huge grin on my face!
What’s the idea behind the night and how does it differ from other cabaret nights?
We wanted to create something that had more of a Sunday soiree feel where people from all ends of the community could come together, have a few drinks and enjoy a laugh, a game and some fabulous performances, to distract themselves before the impending Monday morning hangover.
How do you choose which acts will perform?
That is tricky as there are so many incredible acts across the scene. Picking them out and finding dates when queens are free is actually quite the task. I’m trying to get a mix of live vocalists, lip syncers, groups etc to have something new and different every week.
Who have you got coming up in the next few weeks?
So this Sunday (29 Jan) we have the incredible Vicki Vivacious and Vinegar Strokes joining me which will be fantastic. Plus we will be continuing our Australia Day celebrations in the only way I know how, Priscilla style, with my gorgeous boys.
What acts do you admire on the scene?
I have so much love for so many acts on the scene. The London drag scene is like no other. When I first started to consider the idea of drag a few years ago I began by watching a lot of the scene favourites – Miss Jason, Mary Mac, Mrs Moore and the like – and as I continue to work on the scene myself, I am forever admiring the talent on offer. Someone I get to work closely with at Ku is the amazing Vicki Vivacious; she’s a great friend and somebody I have learnt a lot from. I’m a lucky old queen really.
You perform on the night too, don’t you?
I do indeed. You will find me lip syncing, prancing around, dancing with my gorgeous boy dancers and, depending on my alcohol levels, I might even sing you a song – my apologies in advance. And I talk about my tragic life.
How did you start performing?
Before Jacqui came about I was a ballet dancer. It was a crazily different life, dancing all over the UK performing in countless ballets with some incredibly talented people. In 2013 I moved back to London and fell in love with the community and the scene. I was spending weekends in gay venues, kissing boys and watching drag queens for the first time. It was a total revelation.
What are the plans for Kabaret in the future?
In February we are launching our new Get Lippy competition where we will be inviting those fierce enough to come down and give us their lip sync performances. In March we have more gorgeous guests joining me and my boys. We’ve also decided to start playing some new games with our audiences to get to know them more intimately. I really do have such a difficult time. Ha!