It was inevitable – Outside The Box Travel had to venture to The Box at one point or another. But don’t be fooled by the name, The Box is definitely an outside-the-box nightlife venue. When people ask me to describe The Box, I usually sum it up as a nightclub with an erotic burlesque cabaret freak show. I’d been to The Box in NYC a few times, and every time proved to be a memorable one. So I thought that it was quite fitting and appropriate that my first proper night out in London should take place at The Box here. I had heard from multiple sources that the show in the London venue was even more extreme and risqué than the original New York version, so my expectations were high as I headed through Soho to the seedy alley where the large wooden doors guarding the club are located.
One thing to know about The Box is that it’s extremely difficult to get into. Basically, you get in if you:
a) Know someone.
b) Reserve an outrageously expensive table.
c) Are really, really, ridiculously good-looking.
Every time that I’ve gotten in was because of reason a), and last night was no exception. One of our friends is occasionally invited to host The Box here in London, bringing along with her a merry cast of flamboyantly dressed East Londoners to add a touch of eccentricity and edge to the otherwise decidedly West London moneyed crowd.
As with the New York version, the show is opened by a young, saucy, and beautiful African-American lady with a soulful singing voice. This ringmaster/ hostess/ master of ceremonies welcomes the audience to The Box and then breaks into a musical number before pulling a random audience member onto the stage and throwing him into the hands of several beautiful and excited young women as the curtain closes around them, only to reopen a moment later to reveal the lucky audience member in a very compromising position.
The doors of The Box open at 11pm and the shows begin at 1am, punctuated by dancing, with one show beginning on the hour for a total of about three to four shows. You can expect to see gorgeous and talented performers, stunning acrobatics, some audience participation, nudity, musical acts, and a variety of other very risqué acts that I’m not going to write about here, as here at Outside The Box Travel we try to keep things clean, unlike The Box, where things can get very, very dirty (sit in the front row at your own risk). If you’re curious, you can read more about the acts online – but I recommend just going and seeing for yourself. I would have included pictures with this entry, but for obvious reasons photography is strictly prohibited inside the venue.
The Box is something to experience at least once, having drawn young British royalty and A-list actors, models, and other celebs, all curious to witness the oddities of the venue, which innocuously bills itself as a “Theatre of Varieties” on its website. Personally, I preferred the shows in the original New York venue, but it really depends on the night, given the ever-changing lineup of shows. So, go ahead and open The Box: you never know what you’re going to get.
WHERE: The Box London: 11-12 Walker’s Ct, in Soho. (theboxsoho.com)
The Box New York: 189 Chrystie St, in the Lower East Side. (www.theboxnyc.com)
WHEN: Doors open at 11pm, shows begin at 1am. Tuesday through Saturday.
HOT TIP: As when going to any exclusive club, if you haven’t made a reservation and you’re not on the list, dress to the nines, arm yourself with plenty of self-confidence (without seeming entitled), choose your partner-in-crime wisely (a couple has a better chance of getting in than a group), show up early to minimize your wait outside, and have a back-up plan in case you don’t get in so that you don’t end up all dressed up with nowhere to go.