Pull on your blue and white striped jumper, fashion up an origami doughboy hat and sketch an anchor on your arm with a biro. The Mary Bijou Cabaret and Social Club will be sailing into Cardiff Bay this month for two nights of fancy dress mayhem, all themed around Amsterdam’s debauched ports.
Forming part of the Wales Millennium Centre’s Blysh Festival, The Port of Amsterdam will see the centre’s Weston Studio transformed into a surreal cabaret venue with adventurous performers who’ve travelled from all corners of the globe. But this is no jolly trip to the seaside as Anna Sandreute and George Fuller – who you may have seen clowning around with NoFit State – are prepared to deliver a little more cheekiness in a performance which they stress is just for grown-ups.
“And they turn and they dance, And they laugh and they lust/ ‘Til the rancid sound of the accordion bursts” Jacques Brel, The Port of Amsterdam
Like sirens seducing us into bad behaviour, the Mary Bijou company have promised a ‘more intimate, involved evening’. But it’s not simply the promise of acrobatic strip-teases and cross-dressing shenanigans that allures us. Embracing all the stereotypes of sailors with lewd language and drunken behaviour, The Port of Amsterdam celebrates the squalor of the boys in Jacques Brel’s lyrics as much as the fantasy of these men in white. So, if you love the thought of dressing up yet approach typing ‘sailor’ into your search-engine with some trepidation for fear of saucy Jean Paul Gaultier posters, this is perhaps not the show for you. Everyone else – let’s go overboard.