Top Cabaret Show Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Top Cabaret Show Mistakes and how to avoid them
A good cabaret show should really wow your audience and be beautifully staged with slick and seamless acts. Cabaret performers of all genres working together in the perfect team bringing Burlesque, Showgirls, Magicians, Dancers, Acrobats, Fire and Circus acts to your stage. However, if it all goes wrong there is nothing more painful to watch. We hope you enjoy this quick guide on how to avoid the top cabaret show mistakes and always keep them wanting more.
#1. A terrifying host or a self-indulgent host
A host that talks about themselves and then more about themselves and then gush about how wonderful they are. Pointing out friends in the audience that have come to see them. They talk for far too long while acts are waiting to go on. They are absolutely painful to watch and they really do need to bore off!
On the other hand, there are aggressive hosts who don’t bother to gently warm up the audience. They don’t carefully judge how far they can take things. They start as they mean to go on with a complete car crash style. They only scare and alienate the audience rather than getting them onside and making them feel part of the show. These hosts think they are being cutting-edge and outrageous but they don’t have the ability to carry it off properly. It just doesn’t work!
Seeing a potential host in a live show environment rather than an edited showreel will tell you all you need to know to make an informed booking.
#2. Terrible stagehand turnarounds
Super slick stage turnarounds and prop placement will never divert an audience’s attention. A clunky stagehand mooching about in the corner and then awkwardly bashing about the stage is never a good look. Swift and sure is the key. A powerful song from your host or some audience interaction is a great diversion for bigger changes like aerial rigging etc.
Get your stagehands to wear all black to be as invisible as possible. In the case of Burlesque shows where stagehands are known as ‘kittens,’ a lovely vintage outfit to bring extra glamour to the stage is the norm. This makes even more of a show of those elegant props. This requires an element of confidence of course. Kitten’s however, are often Burlesque stars in the making so certainly have the stage presence needed to pull it off and add to the show. Choose your stagehands and kittens with care.
#3. Failure to style it out
There is nothing worse than cabaret performers who freeze when something goes wrong on stage or who look visibly annoyed. It’s the law of averages that sometimes things go wrong during an act but the audience will often never realise in the slightest. A slick performer can keep smiling and style it out.
It’s best to check artists are rehearsing enough and watch an early run through to see how they react to problems. Suggesting ways to cover any embarrassment just in case may also be helpful. Just think back to the circus where performers get the audience completely onside when they have to repeat a daring stunt that they didn’t manage to achieve the first time around.
#4. Amateur performers who haven’t rehearsed enough.
Everyone has to start somewhere and it’s exciting to give a new act a break. Some newer cabaret performers just haven’t spent the amount of time needed to bring a polished act to the stage. Things like stopping and starting when getting props or equipment needed during the act look really awkward for the audience. Everything should flow seamlessly including stage entrance and exits.
Always ask for video showreels of potential new acts rather than the absolutely stunning photos and bio that they send over to you. Even rough footage from a mobile phone is enough to give you an idea of their skill and ultimate potential.
#5. Performers bad timekeeping
Performers who book multiple gigs in one night and make a panic last minute change to your running order by arriving late. Performers who suddenly realise they have to leave earlier than planned to get to their next gig. This upsets your whole team as they are geared up to exactly what is on their running order. The sound and light team also have to cross out and change everything right in the middle of a show. This may lead to the wrong music accidentally being played for acts which can look very amateur. It can ruin the flow of your show as the running order is set for a very good reason to slowly build your night up to the finale.
It’s best to make it very clear when booking that your timings are absolutely set in stone. Be firm about needing everyone in the building a certain amount of time before curtain. Of course, people will always have mishaps and may arrive later than planned but at least you will have done your best to keep things running smoothly.
#6. A bad team with friction
Of course, you can’t stop people from having arguments but if you know that tension already exists between artists it’s best to avoid putting them in the same team. An icy atmosphere backstage with makeup bags and brushes being slammed down on the table is not a good start.
Moody performers who can’t leave their personal gripes at the door are also very draining for the rest of your cast. You need your performers to have each other’s back and provide an encouraging and positive climate for each other to feel extra confident before going on stage.
Positive people are the key. Some people just cannot be part of a team. They feel the stage is only big enough for them and God forbid make passive aggressive little quips about other acts when they have the mic. Performers like that don’t realise that the audience didn’t pay good money for a frosty atmosphere. Show people will form a strong family bond and those kinds of teams make for the very best cabaret shows. So pick your cast with care.
#7. Sound and light slackers
Bad technicians who don’t watch out for the running order can make your show look terrible. Play the wrong music at the wrong time and it’s an awkward restart. The wrong lighting is such a missed opportunity when that attention to detail can really enhance each act.
Most technicians are amazing. They can be your secret weapon to making a great show look and sound even greater, but like any industry, there is the odd bad apple out there. The best way to avoid this is to meet your tech in advance to discuss the show. They may bring some extra ideas to the table which you will really thank them for. Always give them numbered tracks that correspond to your running order. If you give your technician a scribbled down running order an hour before curtain, the blame will lie with you not your poor, stressed tech.
So in conclusion, we have put our years of experience in to play in order to bring the slickest shows possible to your stage. Contact us to book one of our stunning shows today.