Cirque: a review

Where: Queens Rd, Manchester M9 5FF

Opening hours: Saturday 8pm – late

Myself and a friend made a weekend of visiting Manchester recently, stopping off in the Alternative & Burlesque Fair at the 02 Ritz before getting dolled up in preparation for Cirque. I had been dying to visit a cabaret event in another city for ages.


Cirque is an independent champagne house based in a gorgeous listed building boasting original Victorian features and vintage furnishings. Promising to incorporate a whole host of unique entertainment by the venue’s in-house dance troupe, we were excited to see the weekly show Cirque la Vie.

We had pre booked in order to receive £5 entry and a free shot, quoting Manchester Bar Offer. On arrival, nobody had noted our names. They let us in for £5 anyway, though I suspect this was because the place was empty. We did not receive a shot. 

With just us and the staff, it was downright awkward. We wasted time taking selfies against the unusual interiors and were assured by the compère that she would be performing in here at 10pm.


10pm came and went. Eventually the place filled, though every single person headed to the VIP lounge on the top floor.

Confused and wondering if we’d misheard the compère, we figured that the entertainment must take place on the top floor. We went in – the room was packed with a great atmosphere – but were swiftly given our marching orders.

We waited downstairs at the empty bar, feeling silly. A member of staff told us that the singing take place upstairs after all, presumably because there were literally only two of us on the poor people floor.

We went up, feeling quite humiliated. By this time we already wanted to leave but it seemed a shame, having looked forward for so long.

The compère/singer was an excellent performer and I enjoyed her set very much.

The rest of the entertainment, unfortunately, fell short. I have watched a lot of burlesque, as well as performing it onstage. But this was so disappointing. Costumes looked more hen party than professional. The soundtrack was something you’d find in any mainstream club on a Saturday night. There was no humour of creativity, no slow and sensual movement.  No flirtation. Intricately choreographed but lacking passion.

Although they were undoubtedly good dancers who would would surely impress those who had never witnessed burlesque, I felt that the vibe was more stripper than burlesque.

The fire performer were decent, but the highlight of the night was a flapper girl duet.


We had expected performances to be staggered with breaks to socialise and buy drinks, but they came in quick succession so that the entertainment was over well before 11pm, meaning we had no reason to stay. We discussed the event with various people outside, who also expressed disappointment.

I so wanted to love this event, but we were in bed by 12:15. Although I wouldn’t visit again, people who aren’t familiar with this type of entertainment shouldn’t write it off. As a hen party or girl’s night out, I’m sure it would be brilliant. The space itself is fantastic if you’re looking to hire for a special event.

It’s just a shame that somewhere selling high end drinks fell short on the entertainment which attracts customers in the first place.

Have you visited Cirque? What’s the best cabaret club you’ve been to? Let me know in the comments!


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