Cabaret Futura brings Weimar edged entertainment to Kensal Rise

The show featured a mime artist, Keith Allen naked and a dance recital adapted from a novel.

When proto-punk Richard Strange first launched entertainment revue Cabaret Futura more than thirty years ago he didn’t even consider the logistical difficulties of running a weekly club.

After arriving back in London after a spell in New York the former Doctors of Madness front man needed a venue to accommodate his eclectic avant-garde performances.

“It was a case of needing somewhere for myself to play and, since it didn’t yet exist, inventing it.”

Started in “dingy” gay club in Wardour Street, Soho, the first Cabaret Futura show featured a mime artist, Keith Allen naked and a dance recital adapted from a DSM Thomas novel.

Modelled on the decadence of Christopher Isherwood novel Berlin, inspiration for the musical Cabaret, the club was intended as a meeting place for the energy which fed the 80’s explosion in fashion, photography, filmmaking and music.

The popular Weimar-edged, Soho club went to act as a springboard for a number of legendary acts with Depeche Mode, Soft Cell and The Pogues all playing early shows.

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“I remember the agonising wait to see if anyone would actually show up that first freezing December Sunday night.

“The atmosphere that night was excited and conspiratorial, and enough people turned up to cover costs.

“Although if everyone I have subsequently met who assured me they were there that night had actually turned up I should have needed to have booked the Albert Hall.”

Three decades later the show is reborn at a the slightly more sober Paradise Club, Kilburn, with appropriately eclectic performances including highlights from mercury nominee Ed Harcourt, musicologist Michael Nyman and quizzes from Riflemaker Gallery director Tot Taylor.

Richard, who now lives in Cricklewood and lectures at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, Kilburn, says he never reveals in advance the line-up.

“The event is the show and not one particular act.

“I expect people to trust that my shows will be a quirky, absurd, bizarre and beautiful.”

“If you don’t like an act they will only be on for 15 minutes so you won’t have to wait for something fabulous to come along

Club Futura is at Paradise, 19 Kilburn Lane, London W10 4AE, on Monday 18th of July.