DIVA publisher Linda Riley reviews an evening of extremely queer-friendly entertainment, starring Claire Sweeney at London’s Proud Cabaret, Embankment


For nearly 20 years Proud Cabaret has been wowing crowds with its unique brand of jaw-dropping entertainment and razzle-dazzle. One of its most celebrated shows is the iconic Cabaret All Stars at Proud Embankment. It’s a notably LGBTQI-friendly night and has featured celebrity guest stars such as Duncan James and Julian Clary.

The night I went, our cabaret host was presenter Helen Scott, who proudly announced that her girlfriend was “sitting in the audience tonight”. It is so refreshing to see this out and proud (excuse the pun!) way of thinking. It’s especially powerful when you think about the huge number of LGBTQI people in the industry who have felt they had to stay closeted in the past.

The star of the evening was LGBTQI ally and former Brookside lesbian Claire Sweeney. Claire is a magnificent ally to our community and has been for many years. For example, in 2008 she opened the Terrence Higgins Trust HIV centre in Birkenhead and spoke movingly about losing one of her best friends to Aids.

At Cabaret All Stars, oozing stage presence and talent, Claire was simply spectacular. The whole evening was so welcoming and relaxed. As well as the brilliant musical numbers, there were acrobatics, aerial stunts and circus acts, including sword-swallowing. Claire even incorporated fire tricks into one of her numbers!

I couldn’t believe how glamorous the costumes were and Claire looked fantastic in rhinestones and feathers. One review I read talked a lot about how great she looks at 51 but, as we all know, age is just a number and Claire is a national treasure. She’s ageless and looks even better with each passing year. Many of the audience members were dressed up too and the atmosphere was full of fun, excitement and inclusivity. In addition to the amazing entertainment, I enjoyed a delicious three-course meal plus drinks, so it’s excellent value for money.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable night out, book your tickets now. Let’s get more of the LGBTQI community attending and keep Proud going for the long run it deserves.
Find out more and book your tickets at proudcabaret.com

DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 


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