Ms. Paolini’s Phantasmagoria Cabaret: Three Year Anniversary

October 15, 2018

A reflection on the launch and artistic journey of Ms. Paolini’s Phantasmagoria Cabaret.

By Patrizia Paolini, Director and Producer of Ms. Paolini’s Phantasmagoria Cabaret

Three years ago, when I was not yet fifty, I started to work on the concept of Phantasmagoria Cabaret, now called Ms. Paolini’s Phantasmagoria Cabaret. You see, the addition of ‘Ms. Paolini’ (my surname) to the original title, was an idea prompted by marketing reasoning or… strategy, which, if anything, gave me a boost of confidence. I get a thrill when I see my surname written on flyers, posters, and tickets. It was a good way to mark my fiftieth birth. Confidence!

Three years ago for my debut at Hoxton Hall with my ‘genius’ deconstructed cabaret, I decided to invite along as main guest act the exuberant and gently abrasive, Frank Chickens. The Japanese performance art troupe is led by Kazuko Hohki, if you don’t know them check them out here:

The Chickens fill you up with joy. Playful, colorful, funny, imaginative, the troupe combines original entertainment with strong socio-political denunciations. Sweet and very palatable and over fifteen Japanese women on stage create the spectacle. I have known Frank Chickens, Kazuko and some of the members for well over a decade. Besides utterly enjoying their work I admire their longevity and their approach to show business. They meet to rehearse allowing plenty of time to discuss, chat, catch-up and eat together. There is a clear sense of community that keeps the large troupe together and this is reflected in their work. So, I was very happy with that initial choice.

I get bored with ‘straight’ stuff. I cannot stand the well composed, formulae, ‘you know what you’ll get’ kind of work. I don’t need that. It bores me: the overly skilled-spectacular, the impeccable, well-conceived and executed stuff that shows perfection and leaves you numbed with empty admiration. I value live performance that engages your imagination, and opens unknown paths in your emotions and mind. Performance that entertains you in a way you never knew. I love work that shows the fragility, humanity, contradictions and conflict of the artist/s to mirror mine (the viewer). Here, I find a moment of truth, which of course can come with laughter. This is the way I want to work, the way I have been making work throughout my career.

To mark the third anniversary of Ms. Paolini’s Phantasmagoria Cabaret and my presence in the venue, Frank Chickens will return to perform their exquisite material at Hoxton Hall in October. Hoxton Hall is a Grade II* listed Victorian Music Hall and I have tailored Ms. Paolini’s Phantasmagoria Cabaret around its history and tradition, aiming to create an highly entertaining variety show remembered for biting the extremity of culture and punching the face of comfort.

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