Tiffany's Cabaret Show takes place in a grand theatre that, with its huge faux-marble lobby, manages to be almost as spectacular as the dazzling costumes. Performers make their entrances dressed in everything from long sweeping ball-gowns and plumes of feathers, to elaborate headdresses and skimpy polkadot swimwear.
A breathless hour-long riot of sound, colour and light ensues; a show that spans the entire hemisphere through song, dance or skit. Scenes include a Bollywood musical take on the Indian Raj, a traditional Korean fan dance, homage to China's Imperial past and progress, Siam's history told through graceful Thai dance, Broadway show tunes, and slapstick burlesque.
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Tiffany's Cabaret Show is Pattaya's world-famous and 30 year-old ladyboy cabaret extravaganza. Here, three times each night, a surgically and hormonally-enhanced army of transgender performers put on a show that shatters that fearsome reputation. With painted nails, delicious pouts and feline grace, not only do they look ladylike, they even act it.
Truly a labour of ladyboy love, a highlight is a show-stopping tribute to Pattaya, during which the cast mime, pout and preen to a painted backdrop of the city's surreally sleazy neon-lit hunting ground, otherwise known as Walking Street. It's a whole lot of fun; by turns comedic, tragic, cheeky, exotic, elegant and, ultimately, uplifting. With the raunch factor turned firmly down to tame, the kids can even enjoy it (though expect some probing questions later).
In truth, however, the eclectic repertoire, the lavish sets, the artful choreography is all just an elaborate but entertaining ruse. This show is really about letting the dainty half-dames do what they love most: dress up, show off their sublimely sculpted curves, and wow audiences. Of course some are much more striking than others, but as a whole ladyboys in Thailand are renowned, even revered, for their beauty. Little of the sniggering or sneering that gets heaped on cross-dressing performers in the West takes place here. Local girls envy their otherworldly (often superior) blend of statuesque height, flawless complexion and feminine grace. Some even gain make-up tips from them at beauty counters across the Kingdom. That said, most fun at Tiffany's is to be divulged from trying to spot tiny cracks in the façade: the bulging larynx, a rogue sprouting leg hair, the untimely slip of the demure demeanor.
After the show the audience can pose for pictures with them outside. If anything, these robust ambassadors for the third sex look even more superhuman and sexy when towering over the hordes of us mere flesh and blood mortals, like princesses just landed from some faraway planet. I had to stop myself from pleading “take me to your leader'.
Tiffany's Cabaret Show
- Opening Hours: Daily, 18:00, 19:30 and 21:00
- Location: 464 Moo 9, Pattaya 2nd Road, Nongprue, Banglamung, Chonburi
- Tel: +66 (0) 38 421 700