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Publication Date : 08-02-2013
Bangkok's first cabaret settles down in its new and luxurious home at Asiatique
After shifting from one Bangkok venue to another over the years, the city' first cabaret company Calypso has finally found a new and luxurious home at Asiatique and it is here that the troupe of 60 third-gender dancers is putting on nightly shows with lights, sound and lots of glam.
"Beautifully Thai, internationally renowned and independently creative" is the company's tagline - a philosophy they have kept in mind and in practice for the past 25 years. Since its birth at a converted a cinema on Sukhumvit, the troupe has grown to international fame stardom and is constantly featured in guidebooks, magazines and on travel blogs as one of Bangkok's "must do" experiences.
"I loved the show! enthused a Canadian woman as she emerged into the night. "This is not my first time in Thailand, but it is my very first experience with this kind of entertainment. I didn't have many expectations, in fact I thought it would thought it would be kind of sleazy, with sloppy dancing by some butch queens with a five o'clock shadow. But it wasn't. I was in awe of their beauty and talent, and the big-scale production they put together. Next time I'll bring my daughter and husband. They'll love it."
Perhaps one of the core strengths of the company is the performers' talent. Not only are they beautiful, elegant and attractive in their own unique ways, they can really dance.
"The ability to dance, or at least a will to learn, is a prerequisite," says Chaiwat Boonmee or Beer. Beer has been with the troupe for almost 13 years, and has worked her way up from a small-time performer to Dance Captain who oversees the whole dance routines and trains new comers.
"I have a background in ballet, which initially helped me when I first started dancing for Calypso. It helps, too, if you're beautiful and have a good figure, but we have to make sure you can really dance and understand what the songs are all about before we put you on the stage. We also pay much emphasis to the emotions in each routine. The performers must understand the song - the meaning, tone and stories behind it -before working on the moves. You can also see that we really dress down here. There are no extravagant clothing or over-the-top feathers to outshine our girls' true talent on stage."
Calypso's repertoire includes everything from classic, oldies to contemporary and avant-garde. There's a Chinese ballad with heart-wrenching drama and a twist in the ending, Marilyn Monroe and her diamonds, Carmen Miranda and her ostrich, a geisha and her gigantic fans, the gypsy boys and guitars and many more that make 75 minutes fly past like a blink of an eye.
Patrons get to sit comfortably in the new plush theatre that seats up to 480 people, with state-of-the-art light and sound system. There are individual seats as well as 5-seater tables for small groups.
Two shows daily
Calypso Bangkok Theatre is located at Warehouse 3 of Asiatique on Charoenkrung Road in Bangkok. There are two shows daily at 8:15pm and 9:45pm.