Next month brings a promising new burlesque event to the ‘Burgh, by way of the inaugural show of Hel Cabaret – and our own little Birdy (AKA Bronwen Winter Phoenix) has interviewed those responsible below!
Taking place at La Belle Angele, the Hel Cabaret team promise to take you through the doors into their dark and magical world of Hel, which includes Dreadful Bitches, Neo Burlesque, Gorelesque, Fire and provocative acts with fantastic, gore, horror and fetish elements to enthral and entertain you.
The first event, Welcome to Hel, takes place on November 2nd at 7pm, and each performance on the night will be accompanied by rock, industrial, metal and alternative music.
The team behind Hel Cabaret consists of:
- Hal Bonella @doctorhalb (Age 51, Costume and prop maker, general dogsbody and occasional extra onstage – plus the only one without a cool stage name!)
- Penny – AKA Selenia Castle (@selenia_castle), aged 250, Founder and Hurricane force behind Hel. Performer, artistic director and general ass-kicker witch-vampire hybrid.
- Kat – AKA Abaddon Allhope (@abaddon_allhope), 29. Performer, event MC, admin and maker of terrible jokes!
But let’s hear what they have to say for themselves.
B. Hi everyone! How are you all? Care to share a fun fact about each of you? (Can be about yourselves, or one of your team!)
Hal: My Instagram handle is legit. I have a PhD.
Abaddon Allhope: He’s the real deal. We actually have a couple of scientists on the team, as well as Tech professionals.
Selenia Castle: I have a selective photographic memory … but horrible photographic memory. Some people don’t like what I remember.
B. Tell us, in your own words, a bit about Hel Cabaret. What can we expect from you?
Abaddon Allhope: Hel actually started out as ‘The Metal Cabaret’, but we decided to expand the meaning of it to include a variety of different ‘alternative’ events.
Selenia Castle: We hope to make Hel an immersive experience that focuses on the performances and the performers that is a mix of alternative performance, neo-burlesque, fire, fetish and pole to try to unify the goth, the metal, the fetish scene and the performance scenes. It’s a twisted version of burlesque. It’s something different from the usual burlesque/cabaret – we’re non-traditional and don’t do light comedy or ‘classy acts’. We want to give people an extreme experience that they’ll remember and come back for more.
Hal: I’m in it for the fun challenge of building exciting props and costumes… Plus the actual performances are going to be FUN…
B. Hel Cabaret is exactly the kind of thing we need more of in the ‘Burgh! How did the idea come together, who was involved first and was it a bit like Avengers Assemble?
Hal: Selenia and Abbadon brought me into the group relatively late on… I can only assume they needed an extra that they could murder horribly as part of their acts.
Selenia Castle: I actually spoke to one of my friends – Rosé Tralee – about it first, as well as my partner Sergio Cosme, our photographer. After that I started recruiting people and here we are.
Abaddon Allhope: Hel is really Selenia’s brainchild and labour of love. She brought me on for mostly moral support and a second pair of hands!
Hal: We all look up to Selenia… Quite literally, she is very tall!
B. What do each of the performers bring to the group? (You can answer that normally, give yourselves Spice Girl names, like Sleazy Spice, Extra Spice etc. or do something completely different!)
Hal: I bring a chronic inability to say “No” when asked if I can make some kind of gruesome prop, weapon or costume… I love crafting, cosplay, creating art of various types and quality! I’m gonna say what I think everyone else brings too. Selenia – Awesome Viking stage presence. Blood Rouge Dragon – Dark gothic fantasy vibes. Abbadon – Off the scale levels of sass. Rosé – the ability to walk and do the splits in shoes that are basically stilts. White Hot Blonde – Sweet innocent looks alongside a wiggle that will stop traffic. Riven – a chameleon like ability to embody various characters… some of them utterly terrifying. Sergio – his photography skills make us all look AMAZING.
Selenia Castle: I’ve worked with White Hot Blonde for a while – she is one of the few performers that can come in on the day of a performance in her street coat and blow people’s minds. Despite her pixie-like appearance, Rosé is an absolute powerhouse on the pole and is incredibly flexible. There is a lot more to Riven than what you see at first glance – she’s not just this scary beautiful performer; there is so much more to her as a person. Abaddon is many times my point of sanity, and is also creative and a super sexy performer (even if she doesn’t believe me). Hal brings this incredible energy and willingness to create and participate in whatever crazy stuff we come up with. Bloodrouge Dragon brings this classic almost ethereal beauty goth look but with a huge variety of skills on stage – and the constant reminder of health and safety.
Abaddon Allhope: that’s pretty much covered it, I’d have to add that Selenia also brings this incredible drive to the group, not just the creepiest, coolest viking-witch-vampire vibes. There’s an artistic direction and then there’s an artistic vector – Selenia got Direction AND Magnitude.
Hal: Yes! Seconded. Selenia is a powerhouse.
B. Are you planning on including special guest spots for your shows, too? And if so, which sorts of acts would you love to see?
Hal: We absolutely are! Two of our regular dancers belong to the Necrodancers group, who have people worldwide – I’d love to see collaborations with them. We are also going to get local stars in…
Abaddon Allhope: We’re so excited to have Skinny Red-Head (@skinny_red_art on Instagram) performing as our super special guest on the 2nd of November! Not only is she an international performer – and we mean proper international; Japan, France, Italy, Norway, you name it – she’s an industry star of Shibari, suspension and fetish and teaches classes here in Edinburgh (shameless plug, she’s awesome).
Selenia Castle: Our plan is for every event to have a special guest performer, ideally someone renowned and local, Edinburgh based. Kasia is incredible and is also my shibari self-suspension mentor. We already have a plan for the next event, but they’ll be revealed later…
B. What are you most excited ahead of your inaugural Hel Cabaret show?
Hal: The first show! “Welcome to Hel” on the 2nd November! I have a couple of fun roles to play in two of the acts. I’m equal parts excited and nervous… it is going to be SPECTACULAR… Mostly I’m looking forward to the buzz you get when the audience responds.
Selenia Castle: To show Edinburgh what they’ve been missing out on for so long – and to scandalise people!
Abaddon Allhope: This first show feels like the start of something big. It’s like standing on the side of a huge waterslide, so I’ve got the butterflies, but damn that slide looks like a hell of a lot of fun and is sure to be amazing.
B. Okay, onto the fun questions! Who is most likely to win a Nobel prize?
Hal: Isn’t Rosé a scientist by day? Probably Rosé.
Selenia Castle: Definitely Rosé or Riven.
Hal: Although what their prize would be for, I’m terrified to even consider…
B. Who’s most likely to know where to hide a body?
Hal: I’m gonna say Selenia… Although she’d more likely display the body as a warning to others…
Selenia Castle: I am. Although I’d probably put it on a stake like Vlad the Impaler, and then Sergio will hide it.
Abaddon Allhope: I will admit nothing on record.
B. It’s the zombie apocalypse, where trust in each other is paramount. Who is most likely to hide a zombie bite?!
Hal: Me. I’m terribly vain, and those things are ugly!
Selenia Castle: vampires would be something different. I’d be the person going around camp checking everyone though!
Abaddon Allhope: Well I was hoping we’d all reveal having a zombie bite, then go out in a blaze of glory and sacrifice but I guess I have to rethink my stance… Hal specifically.
B. Who is most likely to secretly be three ducks in a trench coat?
Hal: I’ve always had my suspicions about Blood Rouge Dragon…
Abaddon Allhope: She does have lovely trenchcoats.
Selenia Castle: Hahahahaha
B. Can’t wait to see these trenchcoats! Finally, what do you all love about living and performing in Edinburgh?
Hal: I love Edinburgh’s dark underbelly. The bloodstained history and the different layers of the city, where new just gets built on top of old. We’ll be performing in LaBelle, which is right in the heart of the Cowgate… Where Edinburgh’s nightlife comes out to play!
Selenia Castle: If you consider that i’ve lived in different countries, I love how Edinburgh (and Scotland in general) is so much more open and permissive and has so many more creatives and people with imagination than other places that I’ve lived in (because Malaga was a hellhole, a hole in the sand in the south of Spain).
Abaddon Allhope: I’m a comparatively recent addition to the city and I love how imaginative and free the city is. I visited, fell in love with the city and moved in a matter of months. It definitely has a fantastic vibe. And it’s well haunted.
B: Thanks, Team Hel Cabaret! I’m really looking forward to your first show, so break a leg!
The first Hel Cabaret will take place on November 2nd at 7pm, and you can get your tickets here! No dress code, although dressing up is fully encouraged! This is a seated event and strictly over 18.