Phuket Simon Cabaret
Backstage Tour of a Tranvestites Show
It’s a spectacular display of colour, originality and fun. Phuket’s Simon Cabaret has become one of Southeast Asia’s outstanding entertainment attractions drawing a thousand enthused visitors from around the world each evening. A single show runs the entire range of musical theatre from cultures around the world.
Extravagant costumes, make-up and sets take the audience from Egypt to Latin America to China and back to Thailand in themed displays of classical dance and song.
Phuket Simon Cabaret: A Big Operation
Mixed in for good entertainment value, are professional soloists dressed like Tina Turner or Diana Ross. It’s some of the most flamboyant fun you’ll ever witness. The majority of the actors were born in male bodies but are living life as beautiful young women who express their talent through life as a cabaret performer.
Jarvey de la Paz is the talented resident choreographer who has trained and rehearsed with the 40 performers over the past seven years.
“For many of our actresses, they must take hormones which enable them to look more feminine.
They often come to us looking like men but after a number of years of training and hormones and medical procedures, they gradually transform into remarkably beautiful women,” Jarvey explains.
Simon Cabaret is a big operation with more than 100 backstage staff including show managers, costume and wardrobe departments and a control manager that ensures everything works according to a tight schedule as it should. “Our performers have a very demanding life. They must learn every role in every musical number as often a actress is sick or on vacation or taking a day off so each dancer must be ready to learn each other’s roles. No two days are ever the same,” continues Jarvey.
Simon Cabaret has been entertaining visitors to Phuket for two decades. And many of the current “stars” have been on stage since the beginning. There are three shows a night.
Only when King Bhumibol’s mother, the Queen Mother, passed away and the evening of the 2004 tsunami have the lights at Simon Cabaret been dark.
“Our performers are very committed to looking their best for the audience. This includes hours of preparation with make-up and costume fittings each evening.
Even though many of our actresses have been on stage now for many years, they still look fantastic as they exercise, train and use both cosmetic and surgical enhancements to make them look so good,” says Jarvey.
Training with Jarvey includes traditional ballet, jazz and contemporary dance. It takes extra work for these biological males to stretch and move like graceful young women.
“We have to be careful with training as our performers can not have muscles so we focus on stretching and building up endurance," he continues, "as the costumes are usually enormous and heavy, our actresses need to balance on often very high heels which moving in difficult routines and all with a smile on their face."
The Magic of Phuket
An overview of the audience shows guests from around the world. Each night at 18.00, 19.30 and 21.30 tour buses and minivans unload people from Taiwan to England all eager to see the magic that Simon Cabaret offers.
Expensive lighting and the best sound systems available enhance the visual magic of a royal court scene in historic China where expert beautiful singers offer melodies that have the audience clapping and waving their arms in appreciation. Other guests sit quietly stunned by the appearance of the most beautiful women that they know were born as males.
Phuket Simon Cabaret offers an evening of entertainment which will create a lasting memory of the magic of Phuket.
Phuket Simon Cabaret