Saturday, May 19, 2012

Backstage Live- More like Backstab Live

Recently, I performed for the first time in Backstage Live, a small venue in LKF with The Vixens. It was our first full length cabaret and we were looking for a venue with liquor and a stage in the same room. A tough thing to find in HK that isn't completely overpriced!!! We were first impressed by the venue for it's cheap price, great location and great manager Joanna. She was lovely and helpful. (Still is. This review is no reflection on her because she was one of the few highlights of the experience at the venue.) For Hong Kong this venue is very well priced. You pay a small fee up front and put a deposit on the bar tab. If the bar tab is reached then you get the bar tab deposit back. We were excited to perform here and even more excited when we SOLD OUT our show completely. The night before the show we were given 20 minutes to walk around the venue. We talked a minute to the lovely Joanna and talked about the Sold Out venue and the need for 82 seats. The owner of the venue happened to be in the room at the time. "82! How are 82 people going to fit in here?"

This should have been our first sign on what was going to be a good show but a generally negative venue experience.

The Negatives:

1) They have staff that are incredibly inconsiderate of your audience and I would like to sincerely apologize to anyone who was bothered by the noise from the kitchen. I personally reamed them out for it but they didn't seem to give a shit. The kitchen staff chopped food, dropped glasses,  grated lemons, took phone calls and stood in front of paying audience members during our production. I practically had a stroke from the level of disrespect they had for my audience members. If you are considering this venue for a production be aware they do not care if your patron hears or sees the show. I find this unacceptable as venue staff is supposed to make a show experience better not worse.

2) They fudge on their technical capabilities in their upfront meetings to get you to book the venue then try to hit you with surprise fees. We were promised cordless hand held mics both in person and via the website equipment list but were given 2 mics on extension chords as you can see in the above photo. These mics may be fine for bands but they did not work for our show and they made our work incredibly difficult. They also completely exaggerated the venue capacity as some of our patrons were left standing for the show on Friday night. I apologize for this. That back bench CANNOT hold 17 people unless they were all anorexic!

3) This venue is good for bands but really not suitable for theatre or cabaret. They shouldn't market it as so and they were very misleading on their capabilities to handle a show like ours.

4) If I have the venue booked from 5-11 then my customers and I should get to stay in the venue til then and you shouldn't be trying to push me out earlier. In their urgency to flip the venue they got pushy and rude. They also almost threw out one of our costumes. How is a black dress with sparkles on it trash?

5) You cannot call that a dressing room. It's a the storage room for all your produce. But thank you for removing the kegs!

The Good: (Because there was some)

1) The Manager, Joanna.

2) The Technical Director, Abe. He hadn't done a lot of theatre work as the space is mainly used for music. He was very quick on his feet and helpful to our stage manager.

Basically, in the end the venue is not worth the money we paid for it. It's cheap (as far as HK venues go) and in a great location but I wouldn't recommend it to ANY theatre group. It seems perfectly fine for a music venue because that's a more relaxed experience. It also has a benefit of being empty a lot of the time so you don't have to book it 6 months in advance like other places in town.

If you have anymore questions about our Backstage Experience feel free to ask. I would also love to know alternative venues in HK for cabarets WITH BARS in them for future reference. The Vixens have plans in the work after the success of the last show so we'll be searching for another venue!

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