Miss W’s blog: Life is a cabaret
When most of us hear renditions of ‘Life is a cabaret’ being belted out on stage or television (whether by Liza Minelli, Michelle Williams or anyone else with lungs powerful enough to do it justice), Ibiza isn’t the most obvious association. But when you stop and think about this magical island, filled with so many characters, pulsating with so much energy, brimming with so much colour and thrumming with creativity – life really is like a giant, living, breathing cabaret going on around us at all times.
So it was only a matter of time really, until someone harnessed some of that imaginative and inspirational energy to create something magical, and here in Ibiza, the AmaribizA Group have done just that. After setting their sights on the historical old building that was once the original printhouse of the Diario de Ibiza and transforming it into one of the most stunning fine dining restaurants on the island, the aptly named La Imprenta, they could have simply kicked back and watched the diners roll in through the doors, attracted by the old-school glamour and elegance housed within. But – as with most highly creative projects – the universe had other plans…
With its beauty and elegance fast earning La Imprenta a reputation as the place to be seen, creatives began to flock to La Imprenta, all wanting to work at or with what is obviously one of the most beautiful spaces on the island. Don’t just take my word for it – you can read all about the space and see how beautiful it is in this blog. Over time (well, since it opened last summer), a little clique formed – including maitre d Caroline Cohen, artistic promotions expert Paola Cuervo and designer Ricardo Jorge Coehlo among others – and during the winter months, that little clique started bantering around some big ideas. Like, the idea to put on a cabaret at La Imprenta…
Really, the opulent space was just begging to be used as a backdrop to a glamorous production. And so, the La Imprenta Cabaret was born, inspired by the Prohibition-inspired production of Chicago and it began as a Friday night special. A good gimmick to attract diners in the cold and quiet winter months. And then word got out and reservations were booked solid for weeks on end, and so the show was extended to include Saturday nights. And the same thing happened… and so now, in summer 2018 due to popular demand, the show takes place every night of the week. Which brings us back (finally!) to me!
I’ve been working really hard of late (yes, me and all of Ibiza). I spend a lot of time alone (well, you’re never really alone when you have cats are you?) at the computer and if I don’t have any meetings, I spend the entire day sitting around in my yoga pants and a sweater, with no make-up and a messy ponytail. And I’m cool with that. But there eventually comes a day when you look in the mirror (and at your washing basket overflowing with leisurewear) and think, Zoolander style… who am I? That point came recently and (with Liza’s words echoing in my head: ‘What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play.’) I decided I needed an excuse to get dressed up and go out!
La Imprenta is about a two-minute walk from my house, so I was able to wear super high heels and not have to worry about wobbling all over town. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect of the show, but having eaten there before I knew the food and cocktails were amazing, so if nothing else, I would be happily fed and watered. We arrived – and no matter how many times I go to La Imprenta, it takes my breath away every time I walk up those stairs – and were taken to our table. I realised the waiters and waitresses were jazzed up a little more than normal and the soundtrack floating across the airwaves was upbeat jazz. Think suspenders on the men and flapper girl feathered headpieces on the chicas. It was trés glam, if I do say so myself. Far more glam than yoga pants and a sweater.
Cocktail in hand, I was finally able to forget about the magazine I needed to proof-read back at home (don’t worry Miss L, it was mine, not yours!) and start to enjoy the experience. As we’ve established in this blog before, I’m not a food critic and I’m not going to pretend to be, so let me just tell you the food was, as always, incredible (but just in case you’re wondering, I had the set dinner menu and the ox tenderloin was one of the best pieces of meat I have had the pleasure of devouring this year!) and let me get on with writing about the show. So there we were, halfway through our main courses when the lights lowered (enough to still see what you’re eating) and a little jazzy jingle (like the kind they play on Main Street USA at Disneyland) burst onto the system. Something was about to happen.
The unmistakeable bars of Hey Big Spender began, a troupe of performers in sequinned dresses (even the male dancer wore a skirt) sashayed out into the space that had been cleared in front of the fireplace and I realised, that the gorgeous face of the singer beneath the wig was the girl who I recognised as La Imprenta’s hostess with the mostess, the aforementioned Caroline. Wow – talk about ‘mostess’; what a set of pipes. As they shimmied throughout the room and around the tables, the atmosphere was buzzing, with the number ending with fake money being thrown all around the room. On closer inspection, these ‘dollar bills’ were custom designed La Imprenta money. Absolutely no detail is overlooked when it comes to the AmaribizA group.
A range of acts followed (I don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone who hasn’t seen the show yet, so I won’t name-drop the songs) and each one was even better than the last. As I ate my dessert, I was thinking I may sneak out early (that deadline was looming) but fast-forward to midnight and I was the last person woo-hooing their appreciation to the performers. As a singer, Caroline Cohen has an almost Amy Winehouse type look about her – but a womanly, voluptuous type of Amy who appears happy and empowered – with her long black locks, big red lips, winged eyeliner and seriously stunning smile. Her fellow dancers were equally as gorgeous, all long, tanned limbs (I guess when you work nights, you can sleep on the beach!) and ultra-expressive eyes, each with their own unique skills.
One thing that struck me was that these guys were REAL cabaret performers. It wasn’t like watching podium dancers from the clubs moonlighting as actors – which has been sadly seen in some island acts in the past – rather; this was meticulously choreographed, incredibly styled, sizzling with chemistry and perfectly played out from start to finish. The showgirl-style costumes were straight off of Broadway, the make-up impeccable (especially on the perfect bone structure of the male dancer, who I have since discovered is the SUPER talented and gorgeous Hipnotika) and not an ounce of anyone’s hair was out of place (styled by the one and only Antonio B of course). All I can say is… wow.
The only thing I regret about the night? Eating every last bite of that impressive three-course meal just before witnessing the Dita Von Teese-esque burlesque strip performed by a dancer with sub-zero body fat. But then again… I now have her to thank for giving me the inspiration to put on my yoga pants and practice this morning, instead of wallowing in my Pornstar Martini hangover. Bravo La Imprenta! I will be back… and I’ll probably eat another steak.
Photography by Eva Montero and courtesy of La Imprenta.