PHUKET: The Aphrodite Cabaret Show held its soft opening party in Phuket last night with a performance that featured a wide variety of dance styles from classical Thai, East Asian and Indian, to bawdy numbers like “Cheeky Girls”, the inevitable “I Will Survive” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”.
Before a capacity crowd at their venue opposite Tesco-Lotus on the bypass road, the official opening speech was made by no-less than Royal Thai Police Deputy Commissioner Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayudhaya, who bestowed praise on the Bangkok-based investors for their support of the ever-expanding Thai tourism industry.
Saying that transgender cabaret shows were to Thailand what flamenco dancing was to Spain, he added: “If tourists come to Thailand and don’t have a chance to see a high-quality cabaret they will feel like they left having missed something.”
Vichien Changpinyo, director of Oddskie Company Ltd that operates the cabaret, likewise told the Phuket Gazette before the show that transgender cabaret was an icon of Thailand that few foreign visitors would want to miss.
A number of real women were sprinkled in among the 80 ladyboy performers to keep the audience guessing, he added.
Chinese and Korean tour groups are prime target markets and both a Chinese restaurant and Sukiyaki Restaurant are in the final stages of construction at the venue to cater to their culinary needs, he said.
The opening followed months of renovations, but some of the trademark features of the old Phuket Brewery remain, including the on-site brewing facilities surrounded by a large bar and lounge area.
Asked about prices, Mr Vichien did not give specific figures but said that they would be “the same as Simon Cabaret”, the well-established cabaret in Patong.
A check of that cabaret’s show lists adult seats at 700 baht and 800 for “VIP” seating. Such straightforward pricing schemes are unusual at tourist-oriented attractions in Phuket, where foreigners typically pay more than Thais and tour operators and taxi drivers usually get generous commissions for bringing in guests.
As for opening night jitters, if any of the performers were suffering from them it was well hidden behind all the make-up, sequins and feathers. All sixteen routines seemed very well rehearsed, the sets were elaborate, the lighting good and the costumes stunning.