So if you're heading for Thailand there's a big chance you've heard of the "ladyboy" culture. Well Simon Cabaret is where you are going to find them. As a warning, this isn't you're usual cabaret - these performers are all well.. lets say, "a bit of both", so if you are really against that, this isn't for you!
Having said that though, the cabaret is family friendly as the dancing is not promiscuous and of course young children wouldn't know that the performers were actually "ladyboys" - they don't look it at all. In fact when we saw it the audience was full of families with children and it is one of the most popular attractions in Thailand with Simon Cabaret's dotted around the entire country.
I saw the cabaret in Phuket and the theatre was very nice and clean and definitely one of the most upmarket buildings that we saw with exclusion of some of the top hotels. They also provided everyone with a Simon Cabaret bottle of water which was great because you probably wouldn't want to be drinking the tap water and if I remember correctly there is no bar outside, though this may of course be different at the other theatres.
So, the actual show. Well it was alright. The performers didn't sing to the music though they did mime, but the dancing was quite good. After seeing the performers after the show you realise that their voices are what gives them away so maybe it was for the best in order to keep a family friendly show without a lot of questions from the kids! To be honest you probably aren't going for the performance, more to marvel at the performers but the overall show is perfect for children and they all seemed to really enjoy it. It's packed full of cheese and there are a couple of comedy routines which were a laugh. The performers were also dressed up and made up very well and you wouldn't be able to tell that they are/were men which was really quite fascinating!
At the end all of the performers came outside for pictures (at a price) and while it was interesting to see them all up close I was actually quite disgusted at some of them for their behaviour. I remember one family wanted a picture with their 2 children but only had 100 baht, and they said no. I don't know whether the performers are just vastly underpaid or incredibly greedy but I thought that this was downright wrong since they had just paid out for four people to see the show.
The price for the show was 700 baht and 500 baht for adults and children respectively, which works out at about £15 for adults and £10 for children, which is an alright price for a good family friendly show and of course an insight into the world of one of Thailand's most famous cultures.