Dame Julie Paid at The Old Ship in Limehouse: Cabaret review by Stephen Vowles

With the venue already buzzing with an atmosphere so unique to The Old Ship under guv’nor John Fell and his welcoming bar team, and fuelled by the tunes being played by DJ Matt, the cabaret legend that is Alf Short aka Dame Julie Paid took to the stage in a flurry of silk and diamonds, the big wig was well coiffured and extravagant.

Dame Julie opened with a belting rendition of Don’t Rain On My Parade. Paid has totally got it with a wonderful stage presence. Every gesture, wink and nod to the crowd executed with an elegance that cannot be taught. Paid is a trouper and a seasoned drag artist of the highest merit. 

There is a slight rudeness to the act and the classic put down of an audience member that is guaranteed to get a laugh; and the gentleman who’s the target of Paid’s quick wit seems to relish the fact that he was the chosen one. 

Superb audience participation with the crowd joining in with the rousing choruses of the very clever repertoire Dame Julie had selected. He hardly draws breath as the true standards that are New York, New York and My Man are sung with such power; pure class. Presenting an East End medley and a tribute to Abba, Paid proves that he can handle all kinds of musical material. Praise indeed for a showman who truly puts on a great show. 

It was clear that Dame Julie had the audience in the palms of his well manicured, French nail polished fingers and The Old Ship’s audience were lapping it up and so happy to be out with friends post pandemic and having such a good time – to all budding drag performers, take note, this is how it’s done!


Dame Julie Paid was at The Old Ship, 17 Barnes Street, Limehouse, London E14 7NW. Check out for Dame Julie’s next appearance and all the other acts appearing soon. 

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