My wife and I love a campy night out, but since we had the little ‘un it’s not that easy to get away. When we saw this little gem come up on a Sunday afternoon, we knew we could get grandma to babysit so were excited to get the rare chance of a night (well technically afternoon) out together doing something (semi) cultural. Yay!
It came to the day of the heat we were reviewing and, of course, our son woke up with a low-grade temperature. He said he was fine so we Calpol’d him up and handed him over to Grandma. However, it turned out several hours later that he was actually not fine. He developed a 39-degree temperature and refused to allow Grandma to administer any further Calpol, which meant that unfortunately we had to leave two thirds of the way through the show! But we saw enough to be able to review it.
I will start by saying that although there are performers this is not technically a play. It is in fact a game of bingo, where the numbers are called by a variety of different artistes. The Dabbers venue itself is a pub in the Houndsditch area. It’s got two well-stocked bars (lots of cocktails on offer), a kitchen and a great big stonking light-up bingo machine in the middle of the room, with screens behind it and a DJ. The waiting staff were all really lovely and accommodating and genuinely seemed pleased to see us, which made it a really enjoyable day out.
When we visited, the competition was being compered by comedian Sikisa Barnes and the five contestants were Crudi Dench, Sue the Cleaner, Barbara Bennett, The Pinky and The Manager. We got to see Crudi, Sue and The Pinky call a round of bingo each and had quite a few giggles. Sadly, we missed the other two performers as we were dashing back towards SE London in a parental panic. My personal fave caller was comedian and drag queen Crudi (and that was not at all because I got a full house during her round and won a play tent for our sickly son!).
Luckily enough, and by total fluke, an old neighbour of ours was in the venue and messaged me to say that the winners of the heat were Crudi Dench and Barbara Bennett. So if you wanted to check out the concluding rounds later this month you might get to see them battle it out for the £1,000 prize and a twelve-month contract with Dabbers.
This is a very fun experience and it’s worth checking it out if you like drag, bingo, food and drinks, and live anywhere remotely near East London. Apparently (like many venues) they struggled to make it through the pandemic, so show your support, have a fun night out and give Dabbers a go.
The Dabbers Next Top Bingo Caller has further events on 5 & 12 June, and 3 July. Further information and bookings can be found here.