It’s been a sunny couple of days up here in the North East, and I’ve been looking forward to the Lady Boys of Bangkok’s annual northern takeover for weeks!

I’ve seen the pavilion going up, the posters on display, and even caught glimpse of the occasional Lady Boy on the side of a few buses! But finally, tonight is the night…2012 sees the Lady Boys of Bangkok back in Newcastle, and TheGayUK has been invited!

Returning to the ‘’Toon’ Centre with their incredible new show, ‘Carnival Queens’, and if the last few days are anything to go by, even the weather is getting into the carnival spirit! The Lady Boys of Bangkok thrust more glitz, glamour, feathers and sequins upon their audience of both young and old, than probably any other cabaret show in the UK.

The ‘Carnival Queens’ tour marks the eighth year of the Lady Boys performing in Newcastle, and it’s clear to see from their reception, that they are well and truly established as Geordie cabaret royalty – and let’s be honest, Geordie royalty, it’s the best kind! Due to epic public demand, year in, year out, this year the Lady Boys of Bangkok will enjoy a month long residency in Times Square.

Artistic Director, Philip Gadney said:

“Although the show started out at the Edinburgh Fringe, the Lady Boys love performing on Tyneside, which is why they perform more dates her in Newcastle, than in any other British city. And, it seems that Geordies love the Thai cabaret performers in return, as the city once again readies itself to welcome back sixteen of Bangkok’s most entrancing beauties.”

I managed a brief chat with one of the bar staff inside the pavilion, as I waited for my drinks. I asked; what is it that makes Newcastle so special? As he handed me two bottles of wine he replied:

“When we first started performing, it was at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, many years ago, and of all the places we visit with the tour, we always get the warmest welcome in Newcastle, we love the Geordies! It’s always exciting to be here – how many glasses?”

Their hugely popular shows in the Sabai Pavilion, again take pride of place in Times Square, right in the heart of Newcastle’s vibrant Gay Scene – they have proven to be one of the most colourful events of the autumn. It’s certainly always in my calendar! This year, the Lady Boys are promising to bewitch us Geordies with their most colourful show to date. As the talented troupe of Carnival Queens (and a few Kings too!) take to the stage, they sport more than 300 elaborate handmade costumes, during their fun-filled show.

Philip Gadney told me:

“’Carnival Queens’ is infused with the comedy, surprises and satire that only the Lady Boys can deliver and it resounds to the timeless Latin beats of fiesta and pulsates to the chart topping sounds of today. The result is the unique comedy cabaret experience, ‘Carnival Queens’ which marks a new high for the spectacle that is The Lady Boys of Bangkok.”

Accompanied by an exciting soundtrack of pounding drums and carnival rhythm, the Lady Boys promise to take you on a unique carnival parade as they do their own spectacular performances of hits by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Shirley Bassey and my own personal favourite, a mash up from the hit film Burlesque – something in there for everyone!

Artistic Director Philip Gadney went on to tell us, that the Lady Boys have a unique way of gauging how their performances will go:

“We say that the further north we go, the more the crowd respond to the show. We get an amazing reaction from the crowd in the north-east, so while we might bring the carnival music and costumes, the audience here almost always guarantees a carnival atmosphere!”

This year, the show features the amazing Chinese acrobat Sha Bing, in his first tour outside of his home country. He provides the audience with an awe-inspiring ‘alternative pole dance’. Supporting himself upon a revolving pole, with only his arms, he captivates the attention of all inside the pavilion. Of course, the show wouldn’t be the same without the dancers making their way out into the crowd, picking out their unsuspecting victims! It always entertains me, watching the men in the audience sliding down into their seats, hoping to avoid the dancers gaze!

Not only a feast for the eyes is offered, there is also fresh Thai food to be enjoyed at all of the Lady Boys shows, from their resident Master Chef Miss Khanittha Pornngarm – even better there are two fully stocked bars, to ensure the entertainment keeps flowing! At the interval, we decided we’d fill our glasses, but the aroma filling the tent was too much to bare! So, we returned to the table, laden with traditional Thai treats, and as the wine had been flowing, perhaps a little too easily – our delights were only too welcomed by my companions!


So, if like me, you’d like to:

Enjoy the party like no other party…

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Watch the show like no other show…

See the girls like no other girls…

Book your tickets today! Don’t miss out!


For full information on all of the Lady Boys ‘Carnival Queens’ tour dates, visit their

To book tickets, call 0871 705 07 05 (calls cost 10p per minute from a BT landline) or


The Lady Boys of Bangkok can be found from Friday 7th September, to Saturday 6th of October at The Sabai Pavilion, Times Square, Newcastle NE1 4EP.

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For up to date information, find the Lady Boys on Facebook: or Follow them on Twitter: @TheLadyBoys


And, as always, we’d love to know if you’ve been to any of The Lady Boys of Bangkok shows! What did you think? Tweet us using the hashtag #TGUKLadyBoys



About the author: Nathan Mackley
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