It’s a saturday lunchtime. I’m working on about 5 hours of sleep. My morning has already been taken up by a far-too-stressful search for PVA, sequins and gold paper and it’s all getting a bit serious… So now I find myself heading to the awesome metal bar that is Our Black Heart in Camden. Just as a little, but important, FYI I am not a metal lover, but I LOVE this bar and every night I’ve had in it has been an utterly superb spectacle of dancing, laughing, and joyous noisy wonderful friends love!
Is it too early to get a glass of wine in my hand? Conundrums, conundrums…
The reason I’m here is to watch one heat of the Musical Comedy Awards, compered by my faves Pistol & Jack AND headlined by the hilarious and loveable Mae Martin. Already an awesome afternoon in my book! Plus a fantastic opportunity to do a bit of scouting for Crafternoon Cabaret Club as the multi-tasking, business headed lady of leisure that I am.
I love laughing. Passionately. I love comedy, adore the dark wit so often found in cabaret, I think all of my friends are hilarious, I often find babies, animals, my boyfriend, and the adventures/everyday experiences they undertake hysterical. 3 and a half hours of entertainment sounds like pure bliss right? Particularly as that featured an incredibly generous helping of 10 acts, plus comperes and headliner – oooh the variety, the excitement; with new bursts of energy and new styles of performance bombarding the stage every 10 minutes! I’ll rave about the individual acts I particularly loved in a moment (and there were some seriously fab acts on!) but firstly I’d just like to touch on a subject often ignored, maybe even taken as a joke by some less empathetic performers: the issue of audience stamina.
Laughing for 3 and a half hours is bloody hard work! I try, whenever I watch comedy, particularly in competitions and variety nights, to be a good audience member. No, a great audience member. I smile, I giggle, I cheer, I laugh, I nod appreciatively, I woop, I grin, I even allow myself to be pulled out of the audience without complaint to be made into whatever oddball bit of audience participation the comedian has dreamed up (this has resulted in a plethora of experiences including: receiving a lap dance from a puppet , having a faux Grecian waggle his tongue in my face, being serenaded offensively, awkwardly, sexually, holding bits of set, being set up with a boyfriend on stage, helping to act out the nativity, having to dance, having to sing, and so on – THAT’S how supportive I am). But it is exhausting to keep that level of energy up – who knew!
It brought me right back to when I watched a work in progress show by Jimmy Carr – that’s right folks – an hour and a half of master-of-the-one-liner Carr. We walked into the theatre to discover a table full of clipboards, each one with a list of jokes; performed, ticked off and audience reaction noted by Carr. And Carr brilliantly recognised the plight of the audience – midway through another table was uncovered to reveal boxes and boxes of Krispy Kremes for us! Carr knew his audience’s needs well – laughter marathons need sugar.
So aside from a diet coke (sugar – pah) and a kitkat (that’s more like it) sugar was what I needed to step up to the plate. And ‘sugar’ was supplied Oh-So-Sweetly by the clever, witty and musical talent on stage. From germans, to synth bands, to country folk artists to songs about binoculars, being scottish…or not, the afternoon had it all.
Here are some of my favourites:
We Are Goose: a quirky duo singing songs about the adventures of Tim and the plight of the beardless. Particularly worthy of note was the guitarist (or Band) Richard’s amazing vocal talent. I would love to see a full show by these guys – they had wit, musicality and an amazing character relationship (despite Richard’s inability to grow a beard). Oh and what’s that? They’re already booked in to perform at the next Crafternoon Cabaret Club at The Hospital Club on February 8th? You lucky lucky crafters!
Folk On: 3 country lads from the village of Little Dribblepatch singing gorgeously folkish songs with a sharp edge of wit. Apart from looking pretty dreamy (flat caps, braces and the odd neckerchief – who doesn’t love that look), their harmonies hit the mark, and the twists in their stories make them enthralling to watch! With just one song they blew me (and the rest of the audience) away
Fakebit Polytechnic: They’re basically the men who never stopped being a band in their garage when they were 14 – their instruments just got cooler, and I absolutely loved them for this very reason. Anyone who can create these awesome synth machines from old bits of guitar hero equipment are clearly legends and should be treated as such. More band than musical comedy but big on impact, chat, volume, and an endearing giggle that they’re really getting away with it all.
Rosalind Peters: A super sweet singer/songwriter/comedian who for this gig hit us hard with some dark ukulele material, chatted diets and dieting and then moved to the keyboard for an epic 3 stage ballad on her love for Nutella. This is where Rosalind shone for me – clearly a talented musician and the drama that came through this trio of movements worked brilliantly with her sweet stage persona. I’ve since been checking out her youtube channel – I suggest you do the same and kick start it with out her reply to blurred lines on youtube