Monday, December 6

The Cabaret: The Leisure Kings

The Leisure Kings at The Cabaret Club
Never let it be said that Michael Wiltrout and Sean Baker are not honest. They promise to try to offend everyone and put forth their best effort to that end. The Leisure Kings, lounge singing misfits in retro tuxes, came to The Cabaret at The Columbia Club bearing gifts...gag gifts, that is. The duo, who brought along a 13-piece orchestra for impression, delves into the weird during their Holiday Extravaganza and takes you along for the sleigh ride.

Breaking from their snooze job at a downtown hotel lounge, the two began to amuse themselves in a way which will keep them on Santa's naughty list for the remainder of their lives. Delicious and twisted are the arrangements which combine lyrics about Kwanzaa or Hanukkah set to the tune of oh, say, a heavy metal tune or the Love Boat theme song. The lovable, cheesy lounge performers, and their accomplished big band ensemble, entertain and insult pretty much everyone and every religion, including atheists with lyrics set to The Brady Bunch theme song.

Naughty boys Wiltrout and Baker
While listening to the brilliant (albeit offensive) lyrics and oddly paired tunes, you can't help but wonder, "Who thinks like this?" and "What could they possibly do next?"

About that time you notice Wiltrout sucking from a helium tank for help with high notes and slip into an "Oh My God" mindset. When they couple the jolly old elf with Michael McDonald, you finally give in to their dark side and leave reality behind.

The program was overshadowed, however, by the increasingly poor service at The Columbia Club. Judging from comments overheard being made by other patrons, this is not an isolated situation. As one of my favorite places in town, it makes me cringe to report this, but I have always been candid with you and it has come to the point of something needing to be fixed immediately to save the integrity of The Cabaret and The Columbia Club itself.

When eating in a fast food or greasy spoon restaurant, it’s not surprising to encounter under-qualified, rude or missing-in-action wait staff. When sitting in the Crystal Terrace, which overlooks the Circle, in one of the city’s most prestigious members-only clubs, it is absolutely disappointing and unacceptable.

And bad business, actually. If servers don’t check back, we can’t order more food and drinks, thereby increasing our check amount, thus affecting the bottom line. In the economic downturn, one would think customer service to be the least expensive way to retain old, and attract new, business.

Handled by the club itself, The Cabaret is suffering the consequences of a service management which is, perhaps, unaware of the all-too-obvious issues. Unfortunately, potential club members are being turned off to the otherwise charming establishment.

I’m sad to say it has gone from a mere annoyance to an outright irritant and is closing in quickly on a being a deal breaker when deciding which places I recommend to my readers and listeners.

Am I at the point to say you shouldn't go? Let's just say I'd rather you check with me first and I will let you know if things have improved. Hopefully, it will be resolved quickly, as this is an otherwise marvelous venue.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.

Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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