Interview: Alexander Luttley – new cabaret director of Hello Darling! in Waterloo
We caught up with supremely talented cabaret darling Alexander Luttley to talk about his new role curating shows at Hello Darling! an immersive wonderland in Waterloo.
Main pic illustrated by Darling & Edge.
All photos below by Hanson Leatherby Photography.
Tell us about your new role at Hello Darling and what we should expect.
As the official Cabaret Performance Director at Hello Darling, I am looking to bring a whole array of new evenings of cabaret to the London scene that focus on intimacy, connection and the highest quality of performance. I lean towards interactive performance because I love the moments created between a performer and an audience member, and the shows that are on their way to Hello Darling are all about these moments. Whether it be an evening of magic, an afternoon with a burlesque superstar, a night of immersive games or a whole cabaret house party, the audience and their experience is my priority, and I want everyone to leave with a story of ‘that time I had a heart to heart with a drag queen on a four poster bed!’
What makes Hello Darling different to other cabaret venues?
Hello Darling is a truly unique space. The performance shall all be happening in the exclusive two story house that is secretly hidden somewhere in the venue, whilst the ground floor is a gorgeous restaurant and cocktail bar with menu designed by Masterchef winner Natalie Coleman.
In the house, the audience will move from room to room, meeting the performers, enjoying the show and living, for just one evening, in this truly spectacular place. With the most incredible food and drinks downstairs, and then an immersive show happening in a beautifully designed (by superstars Darling & Edge) town house, it would be very difficult to recreate these experiences elsewhere.
Who or what inspires you to perform and curate cabaret?
Connection. I believe in today’s society that it is incredibly important to feel that connection, with our friends as well as with people we do not know. Cabaret has the ability to destroy the fourth wall of performance and enable people to let down their guards and truly connect with one another. It provides moments of magic that people can bond over and share over and over again, and I absolutely love that concept. It also navigates really intelligently between entertainment and political discourse, meaning an evening of high kicking, rhinestoned fabulousness can also make waves in conversation on all sorts of important social issues.
Tell us about your style of performance and the shows you make.
I create performance that dances between political theatre and sparkling entertainment. I like to work with performers who have you rolling in the aisles whilst questioning what you think on important issues. Feminist clowns, queer showgirls, political drag queens that are of the highest quality whist also subverting the way we potentially would view things without thinking. My work is mostly situational, with the shared experience being the narrative rather than a pre decided ‘story’. Having said that, it is all work with plenty of theatrics and characters you want to follow through the evening.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start performing?
Do you! It is important to know who inspires you and whose work you connect with in particular, but, ultimately, the thing that makes you special is that no one else is quite like you. Your individuality is what makes you different, and by embracing it you can really begin to harness a unique power in performance. Also, respect your audience. They have taken the time and money to come and see you. They should be respectful of you and the work you create, but don’t forget that you also need to have respect for them.
What are your favourite London haunts (to eat, to party, to watch shows, to relax)
Hello Darling has sky rocketed to the top of my list. I do love a theatre, and enjoy meeting people for a drink and a show at everywhere from Soho Theatre to Barbican, from the Royal Court to Theatre Deli. I like the theatrical buzz and creative atmosphere in all of these places, and I think it’s important to maybe stop for a drink in these centres as this is part of their business and what keeps them open. I think the same for LGBTQ+ venues, and so enjoy popping in to The Glory, the RVT and BGWMC whenever I can. Lesser know haunts that I enjoy include FREVD bar (near Holborn), Omeara (Borough) and I can’t resist a coffee and cake at the Tate Modern, as the view across to St Pauls’ is lovely.
I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.