Raymond Revuebar

Last updated

Raymond Revuebar in 1980 Raymond Revuebar - geograph.org.uk - 1285523.jpg
Raymond Revuebar in 1980
Facade of the Raymond Revuebar from Rupert Street, 2015. Raymond Revuebar 01.JPG
Facade of the Raymond Revuebar from Rupert Street, 2015.

The Raymond Revuebar (1958–2004) was a theatre and strip club at 11 Walker's Court (now the location of The Box Soho nightclub), in the centre of London's Soho district. For many years, it was the only venue in London that offered full-frontal, on-stage nudity of the sort commonly seen in other cities in Europe and North America. [1] Its huge brightly lit sign declaring it to be the "World Centre of Erotic Entertainment" made the Revuebar a local landmark.


In 1980, the Boulevard Theatre section of the venue was hired by comic actor Peter Richardson to stage his alternative comedy revue, The Comic Strip. This attracted a younger punk audience to the venue. In 1989, the Boulevard became Eddie Izzard's stand-up venue.

In the 1990s, the Revuebar struggled, with its dated image and competition from newer venues such as Spearmint Rhino and Stringfellow's. The name and leasehold was bought by Gérard Simi in 1997. The Revuebar closed on 10 June 2004 and became a gay bar and cabaret venue called Too2Much, designed by Anarchitect. In November 2006, it changed its name to Soho Revue Bar and was the home of club nights and special events. On 29 January 2009, the Soho Revue Bar closed, reopening in February 2011 as The Box Soho, billed as "A theatre of varieties", under the ownership of Simon Hammerstein. [2]


The Raymond Revuebar was the creation of Paul Raymond. The theatre was formerly the Doric Ballroom. When it opened on 21 April 1958 it offered traditional burlesque-style entertainment, which included strip tease, and was popular with leading entertainment figures of the day. [3]

The Revuebar was one of the few legal venues in London to show full frontal nudity; by turning itself into a members only club it was able to evade the strictures of the Lord Chamberlain's Office which then barred models from moving. [3] Even though homosexual acts between men were illegal at that time, the Revuebar also incorporated a Sunday night show aimed at a gay audience. By 1967, the venue was purely hosting striptease. This would, in turn, make way for glitzy, big budget erotic shows of the type presented by Continental clubs such as the Crazy Horse. Performers were mostly female, with a small number of male dancers. Shows involved a mixture of solo striptease acts mixed with simulated boy/girl and girl/girl sex. These were packaged together as a show known as The Festival of Erotica which ran for many years, with as many as three performances nightly.

In 1980 Peter Richardson, with assistance from Michael White acquired the use of the Revuebar's second venue, the Boulevard Theatre as a new venue for Richardson's own comedy club. [4] Richardson called it The Comic Strip, bringing with him a core group from The Comedy Store, including Peter Richardson, Nigel Planer, Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Alexei Sayle. [5] It opened in October 1980 and ran until 1981. [6] In 1989, the Boulevard Theatre was also home to Eddie Izzard's stand-up venue, Raging Bull. [7]

During the 1990s, audiences dwindled. Competing table dancing clubs such as Spearmint Rhino and Stringfellow's began to attract customers, and Soho was becoming more of a venue for gay nightlife the Revuebar was seeming outdated. The name and control of the theatre (but crucially, not the property itself) was bought by Gérard Simi in 1997 [8] who reconfigured the show as a more conventional striptease revue. Gradually the theatre's fortunes waned, with Simi citing rising rent demands from Raymond as the cause. [9]

In 2004 the Revuebar went into administration. [10] It closed on 10 June 2004 and became a gay bar and cabaret venue called Too2Much, designed by Anarchitect. In November 2006, it changed its name to Soho Revue Bar, where it was the home of popular club nights including Trannyshack and hosted frequent special events including the West End Gala performance of the musical Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens on 1 December 2008. On 29 January 2009, the Soho Revue Bar closed.

The venue reopened on 8 January 2011, with a new name and new management, and a complete decor/equipment refurbishment/upgrade.

Media appearances

Related Research Articles

The following outline provides an overview of and topical guide to entertainment and the entertainment industry:

Soho District in London, England

Soho is an area of the City of Westminster, part of the West End of London. Originally a fashionable district for the aristocracy, it has been one of the main entertainment districts in the capital since the 19th century.

Striptease erotic dance

A striptease is an erotic or exotic dance in which the performer gradually undresses, either partly or completely, in a seductive and sexually suggestive manner. The person who performs a striptease is commonly known as a "stripper" or exotic dancer.

Eddie Izzard English stand-up comedian

Edward John Izzard is an English stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and political activist. His comedic style takes the form of rambling whimsical monologues and self-referential pantomime.

Sex show Live performance of sexual activity

A sex show is a form of live performance that features one or more performers engaging in some form of sexual activity on stage for the entertainment or sexual gratification of spectators. Performers are paid either by the spectators or by the organisers of the show. A performance can include actual or simulated autoerotic acts or sexual activity with another performer. The performance can be in a theater style, or it can be in a peep show style. An increasingly popular form of sex show is a webcam performance in which the viewer is able to view and interact with webcam models in real time.

The Comic Strip is a group of British comedians who came to prominence in the 1980s. They are known for their television series The Comic Strip Presents..., which was labelled as a pioneering example of the alternative comedy scene. The core members are Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French, the late Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders, and Alexei Sayle, with frequent appearances by Keith Allen, Robbie Coltrane, Lanah P, and others.

Alternative comedy is a term coined in the 1980s for a style of comedy that makes a conscious break with the mainstream comedic style of an era. The phrase has had different connotations in different contexts: in the UK, it was used to describe content that was an "alternative" to the mainstream of live comedy, which often involved racist and sexist material. In other contexts, it is the nature of the form that is "alternative", avoiding reliance on a standardised structure of a sequence of jokes with punch lines. Patton Oswalt has defined it as "comedy where the audience has no pre-set expectations about the crowd, and vice versa. In comedy clubs, there tends to be a certain vibe—alternative comedy explores different types of material."

The Comedy Store (London) comedy club in London

The Comedy Store is a comedy club located in Soho, London, England, opened in 1979 by Don Ward and Peter Rosengard.

Peter Richardson is an English director, screenwriter, actor, and comedian. Richardson founded the Comic Strip troupe of performers, which showcased his double act with Nigel Planer and launched the careers of French and Saunders, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson, and Alexei Sayle. Richardson approached Channel 4 to make a series of short, self-contained one-off comedy films with this group, which led to The Comic Strip Presents..., many of which were written, directed by and featured him in acting roles.

Windmill Theatre Theatre and cinema in Londons Soho

The Windmill Theatre — now The Windmill International — in Great Windmill Street, London was for many years both a variety and revue theatre. The Windmill remains best known for its nude tableaux vivants, which began in 1932 and lasted until its reversion to a cinema in 1964. Many prominent British comedians of the post-war years started their careers working at this theatre.

Table dance Exotic dance involving tables

A table dance, or bartop dance, is a dance performed at a table or bar, as opposed to on a stage. It may be an erotic dance performed by a sex worker or it may be done as a leisure activity.

Strip club Sexual entertainment venue

A strip club is a venue where strippers provide adult entertainment, predominantly in the form of striptease or other erotic or exotic dances. Strip clubs typically adopt a nightclub or bar style, and can also adopt a theatre or cabaret-style. American-style strip clubs began to appear outside North America after World War II, arriving in Asia in the late 1980s and Europe in 1978, where they competed against the local English and French styles of striptease and erotic performances.

Paul Raymond (publisher) English publisher

Paul Raymond, born Geoffrey Anthony Quinn, was an English strip-club owner, publisher of pornography and property developer who was dubbed the "King of Soho".

Sexual Freedom Awards

The Sexual Freedom Awards is an annual British event that honours achievement in the sexuality and erotica industries worldwide.

The legal status of striptease varies considerably among different countries and the various jurisdictions of the United States. Striptease is considered a form of public nudity and subject to changing legal and cultural attitudes on moral and decency grounds. Some countries do not have any restrictions on performances of striptease. In some countries, public nudity is outlawed directly, while in other countries it may be suppressed or regulated indirectly through devices such as restrictions on venues through planning laws, or licensing regulations, or liquor licensing and other restrictions.

Sarah Townsend, known professionally as Sarah McGuinness, is an Irish singer, composer, producer, director, and screenwriter.

Alternative Cabaret was a collective of politically motivated performers and musicians. It was set up by Tony Allen and Alexei Sayle in the summer of 1979 shortly after they had met at the newly opened London Comedy Store. They quickly recruited comedians Jim Barclay, Andy de la Tour and Pauline Melville; plus folk duos Chisholm and Stevens and Gasmask and Hopkins, and jazz salsa band Combo Passe.

Boulevard Theatre or Boulevard Theater may refer to:

<i>The Look of Love</i> (film) 2013 film by Michael Winterbottom

The Look of Love is a 2013 British biopic of Paul Raymond, directed by Michael Winterbottom. It stars Steve Coogan as Raymond. The film was released in the United Kingdom on 26 April 2013.

Gargoyle Club

The Gargoyle was a private members' club on the upper floors of 69 Dean Street, Soho, London, founded on 16 January 1925 by the aristocratic socialite David Tennant, son of the Scottish 1st Baron Glenconner. David was the brother of Stephen Tennant who was called "the brightest" of the "Bright Young People" and of Edward Wyndham Tennant, the poet who was killed in action in World War I.


  1. Philip Howard (14 February 2004). "Farewell Raymond's Revue Bar, stripped of the bare necessities". The Times. London. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  2. Rushe, Dominic; Kennedy, Maev (28 January 2011). "New York's most risque cabaret to open in London". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  3. 1 2 Paul Willetts "Why Paul Raymond, the porn king of Soho, was a hero", Daily Telegraph, 1 September 2010
  4. Wilmut, Roger (1989). Didn't You Kill My Mother In Law?- the story of alternative comedy in Britain from the Comedy Store to Saturday Night Live. UK: Methuen. pp. 57–58. ISBN   0-413-17390-9.
  5. Johnson, David (1 January 1981). "Something Funny is Happening in Stripland". Over21, January issue, page 36, republished at Shapersofthe80s. London. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  6. Farndale, Nigel (27 October 2010). "The Comic Strip: 30 years on". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  7. "'Believe' - Eddie Izzard - Raging Bull & Hysteria". YouTube. 9 April 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  8. MegaStar: Home
  9. Erotic show choreographer Gerard Simi Archived 20 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Philip Howard (14 February 2004). "Farewell Raymonds Revue Bar, stripped of the bare necessities" . The Times.

Coordinates: 51°30′45″N0°08′03″W / 51.51245°N 0.1341°W / 51.51245; -0.1341