Dave had persuaded me that joining him for the first show – The Big Bite Sized Breakfast Show in the Queen Dome (Pleasance), was a good idea. They’ve been working through a menu of playlets and today’s offerings included Mothra (the moth monster of the classic movies) having to audition for other genres of film; The Answer Man (a long suffering know-it-all who people never believe) and a Miss Jean Brody character with a message to her Eng Lit class. All excellently observed.
Next up we were quickly across to the 10 Dome where we were to spend the rest of the day. Our first show there was Happy; a story of a long term relationship going slightly off the rails, and somehow, with the help of the female protagonist’s friend, eventually gets back on the right tracks. I couldn’t fault the production or the actors even if the story itself was a little disjointed.
Goodbye Gunther was next in our schedule and this was a whimsical (and physically messy) drama about death and missed love opportunities. Gunther’s backstory is explained first for context and his ending is also told to us so no surprises there apart from one and ssshhh, no, I’m not telling! We both liked this one a lot!
Out for a short break and then into the poetic briliance that was Wingman. Narrated by one of the two characters in it, this wee gem of a story played to an almost full house and was thoroughly enjoyed by all as far as I could see – myself letting out at one point, such a weird cross between a gasp and a snort, that Dave said afterwards that he’d never heard anything like it coming out of my mouth before. A tale of a family split and reconnection through death and birth, funny and totally engaging from start to finish. A recommendation!
Out and then back into Deborah Frances-White’s Half A Can of Worms. Autobiographical, this story explores, with the help of photographs on the multimedia screen, Deborah’s search for her roots after being given up at birth in Australia and adopted. Funny and engaging, we are led along an international path via Google, Facebook, private detectives and geneology to find Deborah’s birth family to a sort of as yet unfinished story…to be continued!
After that we were onto Joseph Morpurgo: Odessa – a mixed media/sketch/character production featuring police, reindeer, Santa, diamond salesmen and uncomfortable looking interviewees in a Christmas Shop. All highly entertaining, especially to me when Dave was proposed to by Joseph and a male audience member, both vying for his attention with large chunks of blingy engagement rings! He got his own back later in the show however, by offering me up as a sacrifice to the fire gods much to the amusement of the other punters.
Tim Fitzhigham’s Hellfire was our next show. Like an interactive version of a Dan Brown novel we had Tim asking for audience help in decoding a mysterious letter made up of diagrams and typewritten riddles. Tim is a mad adventurer in the classic sense and told us stories of bets, high jinks and japes in his attempts to solve the mystery. Seeming to be able to pack a bag and take off to the farther reaches of the planet at will, we could only wonder at Tim’s bottomless coffers and boundless energy.
Then it was Nathan Caton: Teenage Mutant Nathan Caton, who gave us a mix of stand-up at the beginning of his hour, but then went on to give us classic story telling around his family, most specifically his mum’s remarrying. This was good, honest heart baring and Nathan (who we have seen before in Exeter) coming across as a role model for his brother and a protector for his mum. Thoroughly enjoyable.
A bite of dinner and then into my penultimate show (but not Dave’s) for the day – the wonderful Jonny and the Baptists. Having toured Britain accidentally helping out the UKIP vote (any publicity is good publicity as they say) they were in full Farrage bashing mode – a fact highly appreciated by their audience. Apparently interweaving songs with much knocking back of “strong drink”, Jonny did his own take on crowd surfing at the end to be followed with a full blooded, howling version of BOOM! (motherf*cker!) which brought the house down. Excellent stuff from the boys as per usual!
And so to our last mutual show of the evening (with Dave going off to the Cabaret Bar afterwards for the Late Show). This was McQueen:McQueen. Five minutes into this (or possibly even less, but it’s only fair to give new stuff a chance) I knew it wasn’t for me. Animated cartoons/ multimedia/sound bites/pop music and pretend interviews with celebrity cutout heads; probably a fab Youtube sensation appreciated by a far younger age group than mine – I made my escape early leaving Dave to the record attempt, and started my brisk walk home to complete this blog!
Dave’s notes re The Cabaret Bar:
Hosted by Joe Bor who we saw hosting this last year. The opener Danny Bhoy is full of whimsey before Imran Yusaf – calm, assured and one of the best comics in the country. Head liner Carey Marx who we also saw here last year. All in all A+ and with a well behaved late night crowd for a change!!