How it all happened
Cab-arette – Sylvia Dow
Lights, sparkles, taxi please! – take your seat for Edinburgh’s only one-woman, cabaret taxi tour!
Edinburgh can boast a lot of things but one of the most unique must surely be Cab-arette, the only one-woman cabaret act offering tours around the city in a traditional black taxicab. A natural entertainer, Sylvia Dow, the creator of Cab-arette, developed her skills on the job – as a cabbie!
After a spell of travelling, when Sylvia returned to Edinburgh, she decided to become a taxi driver because “she enjoys driving and loves meeting new people”. And she thought it would be fun. She perhaps hadn’t anticipated just how much fun!
Having earned her taxi licence in 2011, shortly before that year’s Edinburgh Festival, she was thrown in at the deep end, finding her cabbie feet (or wheels!) in a city which was intent on enjoying itself.
Caught up in the atmosphere, and “with a captive audience!”, Sylvia started to entertain her fares with song, chat and accents, made-up stories and funny tales. Her love of performing had found its natural home.
In 2013, Sylvia collaborated with friend Amanda Mongey to put together a festival show, the first Cab-arette act featuring the fabulous Lola. It was accepted as an official Fringe Festival show and attracted great reviews, impressive for a first-time performer.
Sylvia now performs her Showtour in the city all year-round offering tourists and Edinburgh residents alike, this one-off experience. “There is so much in Edinburgh that caters only for the tourists, and we benefit from them,” Sylvia says, “but I like to think that the residents of Edinburgh can have their very own all year Showtour.”
With traditional cabaret at the heart of the show, there is song, drama, dance, not to mention innuendo, double entendre, banter, and hilarity. Once the frilly black and red curtains go up, you know you’re in for the most original, fun taxi-ride of your life.
Lola, festooned in red feather boas, will greet you at the start of the tour. The other Girls will put in an appearance along the way as they take you around the city. As soon as you get into the taxi, you are part of the show. But don’t forget that these larger-than-life ladies are the ones in charge!
Each of the five characters has their own well-known song with clever, some, hilariously rescripted words. All have their unique take on life, which they are keen to share with you.
Lola might treat you to a dance at Flodden Wall. And be prepared to get noticed as Geraldine the semi-retired nun, drives you down the Royal Mile in a taxi adorned with red feathers and eyelashes.
Like many people, the pandemic has given Sylvia time to reflect on life. Having launched the Showtour shortly before the start of the UK lockdown, she has now decided to take the leap and stop driving taxis to focus on what she loves to do most.
She also offers tours including historical, murder mystery and even red bus tours and an ‘escape the taxi’ game on the cards.
Always at the heart of Sylvia’s act is the desire to share fun and to lift people’s spirits. It might sound corny, but passing a smile to a stranger has a positive effect or everyone, after the years we have had, it’s exactly what we need. Life is too short to not enjoy as much of it as possible.
For more about the creator of Cab-arette please feel free to get in touch.
The inception of fun
The Cab-arette can come to you! A new service where you are able to arrange to be picked up at a city centre location of you choice.
Always try to come prepared. An open mind, a full heart and an empty bladder!
It's your show, make it the best fun in our way
I always encourage people to do it their way. Some folk will video the whole thing, some don’t ever reach for a phone or camera the whole time. You do you, as the saying goes. What makes me smile the most, is when you choose to share the good photos with me and everyone, like these wonderful chaps have. The memories are yours to keep, or forget, so you can come back and make some more if you so desire. My repeat customers always delight and surprise me in the best possible ways.
Folks come from near and far. Some want to dance and sing, others just sit there laughing at me the whole time! The main thing is to have a giggle and sprinkle some joy around at the same time.
If Cab-arette could be offered on prescription, the world would be a much happier place.
Laughter keeps you young
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