Lola’s Underground Casino

On Tuesday night I was invited to check out the press night of Lola’s Underground Casino at the Hippodrome. The downstairs bar has been newly outfitted with a large, curved screen behind a raised stage and the Lola team are promising “extraordinary performances more easily seen than believed” as well as a “groundbreaking new theatrical installation“, so I was very curious to see what they’ll be dishing up for this night’s fun entertainment.

We were welcomed into the beautiful saloon-like venue by very eager and friendly serving staff who truly went above and beyond to make everyone feel at home and kept drinks topped up throughout the night. The venue itself is very oppulent, if a bit on the small side with low ceilings, the team have definitely made the most of it. Low lighting and the large screen behind the stage took care of the rest. The show started right on time with a simple but effective showgirls routine, a little stereotypical with the standard blonde, brunette and redhead lineup and very traditional choreography, but enhanced by the backdrop video with neon-outline dancers mimicking the same moves the actual dancers were performing.

There was also a magician, who presented somewhat lacklustre and stale tricks with slight of hand skills that are in desperate need of improvement. The show was entertaining, but not very well presented due to bad timing and poor concealment skills. Broken up and supported by the showgirls, it was just about bearable.

We were also treated to a wonderful array of canapes that were thoroughly delicious and just kept coming throughout the night. From the meatballs in yogurt sauce, slightly messy coconut chicken pieces, scrumptious salmon bites to stunning goats cheese balls in lemon curd dip, everyting was fresh and tasty and very expertly served. The serving staff were truly the highlight of this event as they were absolutely professional, friendly and thorough.

The singer and body contortion dancer who were up next were truly stunning. The backdrop screen worked perfectly for these two, enhancing their performances by providing fitting scenery and animations. The singer’s performance was hampered a little by some technical issues in the beginning, but once it got going, she was stunning! The dancer showed amazing skills and contortions, all presented with a smirk and much professionalism, I absolutely loved this combination!

Throughout the night we were also treated to a ping pong ball juggler and card trick performer, who was very funny and professional, as well as a hoop performer and a balancing act. While some of the performers were clearly more skilled than others, they all presented solid, short performances. There were a few more restarts and general technical issues with the big screen, but as it was their press launch night, I feel this is forgivable and is hopefully corrected for following shows once everyone has a little more experience with the equipment.

The only act that was truly enhanced by the big screen was the last one, a hula hoop dancer, whose backdrop animations were perfectly timed and almost otherworldy in their perfection. For every other performer, it was a nice extra, but not really the groundbreaking experience that was promised.

The acts by themselves are pretty standard cabaret fare, nothing to write home about, but if you enjoy a fun night out that doesn’t involve high-brow entertainment, this might just be the thing for you! The oppulent venue of the Hippodrome alone is worth going, with added cabaret acts and some spiffy animations in the background it’s definitely an entertaining and somewhat unusual thing to do. If you’re already going to the Hippodrome, it’s absolutely worth popping down to take in the show, which runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8pm.

Despite the technology not yet working quite right, and the acts being a bit run-of-the-mill with a flat, overdone theme of James Bond, Las Vegas, and the circus, it was good entertainment and very well done within the means presented by the limits of the venue itself. Generally the night was well done and I definitely enjoyed myself, I just wish they’d have gone with a less stale theme and gotten some more interesting performer&animation combinations to truly make full use of their new technology.

I’m raiting this experience at four and a half out of six rainbow sloths. Huge thanks to Love Popups London for inviting me to come along!

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