Art & Design blog
Winner of ‘Best Host’ at the 2014 London Cabaret Awards, Benjamin Louche is a cabaret & burlesque host and Co-producer of The Double R Club, one of the craziest nights in the capital! Louche has been magnificently seducing and serenading the UK cabaret scene since 2009 performing at legendary venues including Cafe De Paris, Leicester Square Theatre, Koko, The Lowry Theatre, Madame Jojos and Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. This year The Double R Club returns to London Wonderground at Southbank from 4th July – 1st August. Taking inspiration directly or indirectly from David Lynch’s air of mystery and nightmare, be sure to buy tickets and witness the magic unfold!
At what age did you start to take an interest in the field you work in?
Ooh, blimey, well I was still pre-teen when I first got on stage (an am-dram Wizard of Oz -I was a munchkin!) and have been performing in one way or another ever since, stage, films, adverts etc. but I first got into cabaret in 2009; which is a very roundabout way of saying that I would have been 38.
What are your top three favourite songs?
A definitive top three would be an impossibility, but three favourites off the top of my head, right now, at this very second, would be:
Sons of The Silent Age by David Bowie, which has such an odd, beautiful, immense and doomed romanticism about it. Many, many other Bowie songs could have made the list.
Feeling Pulled Apart by Horses by Thom Yorke, with its tense, driven repetition, stuttering percussion and strange lyrical allusions.
And Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow) by The Birthday Party, which lyrically is so wonderfully brutal yet rich and inventive, all accompanied with that rolling, edgy bass line and Cave’s peerless vitriol.
But having chosen I’ve just thought of three others that I should have picked, then three others and so on…
What is your favourite London venue and why?
Again, definitive favourites are tough! I’d have to whittle it down to two:
Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, which is real ‘spit and sawdust’ cabaret, where decades of atmosphere just seeps out of the walls, it has real, tangible character and is just the perfect venue for The Double R Club.
My second choice would be the London Wonderground Spiegeltent with it’s beautiful, circular, yawning space, its stellar lighting and staging which gives us the potential to push things so much further in all manner of directions, it’s where cabaret can truly dream of becoming theatre.
Name three creatives who have inspired you over the past 10 years?
I’m afraid I’ll have to start with the obvious: David Lynch. Having always been a fan, his sense of mood, of strangeness and mystery, of absurdity, is everything we wanted The Double R Club to be (albeit refracted through our own prism). Lynch creates worlds like no one else and his sense of darkness and surreality, not to mention the many examples of ‘artificial’ performance spaces within his films, seemed like ideal fodder for cabaret that was attempting to do something different.
My next choice would be Jo King. London’s own Godmother of burlesque, founder and principle of The London Academy of Burlesque, and the first ever British inductee in The Burlesque Hall Of Fame; it was through Jo that I came into contact with burlesque, and by extension cabaret. Jo taught my wife Rose Thorne burlesque, which brought me into that world, and so without her The Double R Club could not exist. In addition, Jo is a tireless and inspirational campaigner for inclusion and positive body image. Over thirty years in the business yet still she takes no prisoners and always leaves the stage sizzling.
My final choice has to be my wife Rose Thorne. When first we got together it was accepted that I was ‘the creative one’ and she the practical. With a background as a chef and then local government it took her a long time to even admit she was creative, and yet The Double R could not and would not be the show it is without her. Whether it’s in the vitally important (and all too often ignored) skill of planning the running order, the dynamics, the ebb and flow of a show, to the lighting design of our Wonderground outings, along with a hundred other ideas and inputs, she truly is the organ grinder to my performing monkey.
Have you got any exciting projects coming up in the near future?
Lots!The Double R Club‘s second and final Wonderground show will take place on the 1st August. We can promise dreams, dread, delights… and possibly disgust! There will be sex, there will be smoke, there will be something waiting for you in the dark… It includes some of the hands-down best cabaret performers out there, including Fancy Chance, Chrisalys, Em Brulée, Twice Shy Theatre and many, many more. We guarantee you will not see another show like it anywhere else.
I have a book out! Written under my, shall we say, ‘pen name’, The Menagerie is a dark fairy tale set around a strange circus and includes 17 beautiful illustrations by Jon Attfield. The tag-line is Ever wanted to run away with the circus? Read The Menagerie and think again. A limited edition is available with extra goodies while stocks last…
On the 13th, 14th, 15th August I’ll be re-staging my one man show Being Louche for the last time. Tickets sold out last time so get ’em while they’re hot! Taking place at The Bamboo Lounge, downstairs at the lush and lovely Fontaine’s, Dalston.
September 17th sees The Double R Club’s 6th Birthday Party at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club!
If you weren’t involved in the creative industry what other career path would you have chosen?
Oh god I have no clue. Genuinely. I’m lucky enough / lazy enough to have only ever had one ‘proper’ job in my life; I have no skills whatsoever in anything practical. Robbed of the ability to write, perform or create I have no idea what would become of me; but whatever it was I feel certain it would include misery, a significant body count, and a lengthy prison term.
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