Archive for May, 2010

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Cooking and Cabaret

Sunday, 9 May, 2010

Cleaning, cooking, saucy singing

Brighton – Laughing Horse @ The Temple – 1 May 2010 – 9 May 2010 13.45 (1.00)

There are two women, one does stand up as a cook and a cleaner, the other does cabaret singing and jokes, in a one hour show.  The venue is packed and intro music plays while the round pub tables are cleaned by a brunette lady wearing a blue overall dress coat and pink trainers.  On one corner of the stage is a microphone stand with burgundy satin material draped from the ceiling.  In the middle is a table covered by a pink cloth.  Cooking apparatus are on it, including a hob and baking trays.  Elizabeth Mee as Pamela Mee is the cleaner and she makes jokes about her surname, with children called Utereus, Roger and Ewan.  She explains that Marysia will come on soon to sing (who is behind a door offstage interrupting Pamela with instructions) and Latitia will come to do the cooking.  Pamela Mee seemed nervous – more used to Domestos than entertaining while Marysia gets dressed but she’s quick with the funnies.  Including some quips about accountants – her ex boyfriend was a tough one, he had PAYE and VAT tattooed on his knuckles but they broke up when he asked for double entry.

When Pamela departs Marysia Trembeck walks on stage, she is tall, blonde and elegant wearing a figure hugging red dress and red high heel shoes.  These are accessorised with long black velvet gloves and a honeycomb coloured hat with a black veil and red flowers on top.  A confident performer Marysia Trembeck leaves plenty of time for people to laugh.  The songs are a mixture of musical classics and comedy.  She sings Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend with the usual lyrics but ends it at Tiffanys and adds dot com.  Marysia Trembeck says she is Polish.  One of her songs is called ‘An English Man Needs Time’ comparing them to other nationalities.  Another song is called the ‘Masochism Tango’.  All the music is timed perfectly well – Alex Petty is the sound technician.  Marysia Trembeck makes jokes about being a single woman, one night stands and the walk of shame home.  She includes topical political jokes about MP’s and the PM but misses an opportunity to mention the hung parliament.  Marysia Trembeck talks about her love of cabaret, about orgasms and sings in French ‘La vie en rose’.  Marysia Trembeck also says that she is a life coach.  Not all songs are accompanied by music nor do they need to be as she sings very well in captivating, almost mesmeric performances.  The song ‘Let’s get physical’ plays and the cook enters blocking Marysia Trembeck from view.

Araminta the cook says modern life is all about celebrity and she’ll be recognised from her appearance on Mastermind in 2009.  She talks about other celebrity cooks such as The Delicious Miss Dahl, Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal and Delia Smith who, in her opinion, is a smug bitch.  She explains she’s standing in for Latitia who should be cooking today but can’t make it because her car is in a ditch.  Araminta is a fan of the WI, posh people and cooking.  Araminta thinks if parliamentary leaders could be types of food, what food would they be? and she discusses other subjects ranging from knitted burkas to calendar girls.

The finale involves actual baking with an unusual device used for icing.  The show gives a lot including laughter, music and chocolate.  Great fun.

Cast Credits: (alpha order):  Elizabeth Mee – Pamela Mee / Araminta. Marysia Trembeck – Marysia.

Company Credits:  Writer – Elizabeth Mee and Marysia Trembeck.  Director – Uncredited.  Music and Sound Design – Uncredited.  Technical Operator – Alex Petty.  Producer – Uncredited.  Company – Laughing Horse (www.laughinghorsecomedy.co.uk).  http://www.cookingandcabaret.com

(c) Wendy Thomson 2010

reviewed Saturday 8 May 2010

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Frank Sanazi’s Comedy Bunker

Sunday, 9 May, 2010

Frank Sinatra meets A Hitler

Bunking off

Brighton – Freerange – 7 May 2010 – 8 May 2010 20.30 (1.30)

Frank Sanazi is a very funny merge of Hitler and Frank Sinatra.  It works – the performer does a great impersonation of both and is attractive as a blue eyes Führer.  Which is kind of worrying – who says that dictators aren’t sexy?  Frank Sanazi is the compère for this evening’s entertainment in the Freerange’s big circus tent where the outside has come inside with a tree growing by the seats.

Frank sings his version of ‘That’s Life’ as Third Reich with lyrics about Poland and Czechs.  Wearing a suit and bow tie he explains how he’s the Leader of the Iraqi pack and what he’s been watching on Jewtube.

Next song is ‘Strangers on my flight’ about terrorists on planes and he introduces Lewis Schafer.

Lewis Schaffer is a Jewish New Yorker who is happiest when moaning.  Good rapport with the crowd and he tells a lot of stories about Brooklyn, accusations of being gay and the differences between the countrymen of the UK.

Sanazi returns, complaining how he was thrown out of PC world and introduces Keith Platt the bigoted yorkshireman, complete with flat cap but missing whippet, who turns out to be not particularly prejudiced and in a heavy rasping voice delivers amusing observations about people wanting a scrap and the modern use of language.

Frank Sanazi returns with his daughter Nancy and her song ‘These jackboots are made for marching’.  She does a little dance which ends awkwardly on the floor, losing her blonde wig and unintentionally flashing her knickers under a short check shirt.  She’s rescued by daddy Sanazi who moves onto his final guest a Spanish singer called Wilfredo.

Wilfredo from Granada looks unattractive with a mop head black wig, buck teeth and high waist trousers.  His ‘sister’ is on guitar with the same teeth, knee high tights under shorts, hoop earrings.  They’re accompanied by a lovely looking lady on violin, from Bristol.

Wilfredo’s romantic songs aren’t particularly amusing, they revolve around piss taking of the Spanish.  He encourages the crowd to sing along with his subtle suggestion of ‘Come on you fuckers’.  Norman Wisdom meets Dwayne Dibley.

Unlike other acts on tonight’s bill who mock dictators and terrorists (fair game) Wilfredo invites derision of Andalucians.  Thought modern man was past that.  Seems like his act is, it’s funny because they’re foreign – ha ha, sticky out teeth, bad dress sense.  Fuck off.

Cast Credits: (alpha order): Performer – Frank Sanazi.  Performer – Nancy Sanazi.  Performer – Lewis Schaffer.  Keith Platt – Bigoted Yorkshireman.  Matt Roper – Wilfredo.

Company Credits:    Unknown.

(c) Wendy Thomson 2010

reviewed on Saturday 8 May 2010

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Secrets and Lies

Sunday, 9 May, 2010

Walking windy Brighton

Brighton – every Saturday and Sunday in May 2010 at 11.00 and 15.30 (1.30)

A walking tour of Brighton with a charming guide and a few surprises.   On a wet, windy afternoon in Brighton, dashing hopes that summer is coming, Tony Moss the Secret and Lies tour guide is waiting for his attendees outside the Royal Albion hotel.    Tony Moss is armed with party poppers, he hands them out and explains to the group that if it sounds like he’s telling a lie to pop the popper.

Tony Moss is dressed in a black professor style robe and carries a large orange and black umbrella in tour guide tradition.  The tour begins outside the Royal Albion hotel and one of the first statements which sounds like it could be a lie is that Brighton had three piers.  Then comes another – Brighton had the first and oldest electric railway.  This was after the French razed Brighton in 1515.  Spotting the lies could get difficult and some people are Brighton residents who seem unsure what is fact or fiction.

Moving on round the corner is a plaque to Dr Richard Russell dated 1759 who died four years after moving to Brighton.  Something of a quack doctor he advised drinking a pint of sea water a day for health benefits and practiced his ‘cures’ on rich Londoners.  One of Dr Russell’s concoctions was whisky and sea water.  This could be bought in London pubs and was cured with woodlice and crabs eyes.  Tony Moss offers round a bag of Dr Russell’s cures which looks like pieces of chalk but is found to be liquorice.  A wish it had been chalk from a non-lover of liquorice.

At the Duke of Malborough’s house it’s a trip back in time to the 1820’s when Brighton was fashionable with the upper classes.  The guide explains how the Prince Regent was jealous of the Duke’s property which propelled him to build the Pavillion.    The prince’s mistress Maria Fitzherbert lived next door.  Tony Moss shows a picture of the Prince looking bloated and mean which the press had printed.  Then he produces one of mistress Maria Fitzherbert which looks uncannily like Amy Winehouse.  A lie.  Pop.

Entering Brighton pavilion to admire the Indian Gate.  It was thought the Indian soldiers would recuperate better with the gate in place; it was intended to remind them of home.  Well meaning mistaken thinking.  A farmhouse once stood where the pavilion is.  200 years ago the pavilion and its gardens were for nobility and gentry only, the grounds were fenced off.

The Dome, which is now a museum and art gallery, was considered an architectural success unlike the pavilion.  The poppers are succeeded by party horns to blow if Tony Moss is telling lies.  During the gulf war two songs were banned.  The prize for a correct guess is a stick of Brighton rock.  The mix of facts, pictures, poppers, blow-outs, sweets, rock and walking is an enjoyable combination with jokes from the guide.

The tour moves onto the statue of Queen Victoria who looks upset with Brighton, past the court house where a female boxing coach for young fascists was imprisoned for impersonating a man, onto a statue of Max Miller who had the rudest joke ever in the history of the music hall, the Theatre Royal which was, or is, a top place for flirting rather than watching plays and Marlene Dietrich’s OCD involving cleaning cloths and champagne, whilst walking through Fringe street with artists flyering, promoting and performing.

Next a game of spot the Brighton ‘celebrity’ names on the front of buses and hear about the marina’s Hollywood style walk of fame.  There are only a few lies with more examples of truth being stranger than fiction.   The research put into the walk, the knowledge and charm of the guide is impressive yet comfortable, he has a good rapport with the crowd, everyone at their ease, marvelling at the new information they possess about this sweet, salty, exciting, hen and stag party, chips n’ beer city.

Getting lost in the lanes (time for Tony Moss to raise his umbrella) which were built in the 17th century and informed that this is the haunted talk part of the walk.  There have been reports of ghostly events in ‘Poplar Place’.  Standing next to a bricked up archway where a grey nun comes out at night and puts the fear into passers by.  Now outside the Black Lion pub formerly a brewery and The Cricketers – most haunted pub in Brighton where barmaids report strange noises and being touched – sounds like a lot of drinking establishments.

Getting close to the end of the tour is an alleyway used by a fat man to win a race, walking onto a market place used to sell wives and slaves – same difference.  More ghost stories at the town hall which rests on top of an anglo saxon burial ground.

Back at the seafront to look at the site of Turkish baths built by Dean Mahomed, known as Dr Brighton, one of the most famous Indians in history and end with a conversation on modern sculpture in Brighton – the Kiss Wall and Big Green Bagel known as the ‘seasick doughnut’.  Secrets and Lies is a snack of Brighton – it whets the appetite to return for a meal.  A yearning for a kiss and a sugary doughnut.

Tour guide:  Tony Moss.  http://www.secrets-and-lies-walks.co.uk

(c) Wendy Thomson 2010

reviewed on Saturday 8 May 2010

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Echoes of Brighton

Sunday, 9 May, 2010

Busking, murder and lady luck

Brighton – White Room Theatre – The Old Courtroom – 8th, 15th, 16th, 23rd May 2010 19.00 (1.00)

Three actors tell an individual story as one of Brighton’s well-known residents.  The show begins with old slides showing scenes from Brighton’s past whilst fairground music plays.

There is an outstanding performance by Israel Oyelumade as Ras Prince Monolulu, funny and memorable; the best is saved till last.

A blind man walks onstage touching black boxes with his cane.  Lewis McKale as The Blind Busker affects an old man cockney voice and gets upset and emotional about something.  Lewis McKale’s efforts to portray a much older blind man are admirable.  His costume of brown cap, bow tie, brown check trousers, and waistcoat looks early 20th century.  He completes the look by balancing a self-grown furry caterpillar on his upper lip.

The Blind Busker has a long monologue explaining how he moved from London to Brighton and fell in love with Alice.  He never saw her face but loves her voice and her movements.  He regrets something and over fifteen minutes his story of regret is explained and it ends on a nursery rhyme which is sung with a mixture of sorrow and happiness.  As Lewis McKale departs the stage, photos of the historical figure ‘Blind Harry’ playing his accordion on Brighton seafront are shown on screen.

A woman with long dark hair enters wearing an ankle length white nightgown and white shawl.  She is barefoot.  She sits on a black box and starts talking breathlessly about a late night tryst.  She sounds in love and sad.  Her lover is married and a doctor.  At work he is professional and clinical, with her he is a beast clawing at her skin.  She enjoys it.  Miss Edmunds is infatuated with Doctor Beard and wants to elope with him.  Alex Childs as Christiana Edmunds is engaging as this rejected lover determined to hurt as she has been hurt – she is one of Brighton’s infamous children.    Christiana’s revenge extends to her lover’s wife then to any child who will eat one of her poisoned chocolates.  The chocolate boxes are tied with pink ribbons for girls.  Blue ribbons for boys.  She mocks their greedy consumption on her last night alive as she waits for the noose.

Unfortunately there are a couple of technical problems at this stage in the production, a blue screen and newspaper articles shown out of sequence but these do not detract from the performance given by Alex Childs who convinces as the mad, bad and sad Miss Edmunds.

A most colourful character enters to the sound of horses hooves: Ras Prince Monolulu played by Israel Oyelumade.  He’s just won £500.  He’s wearing white trousers, black boots, white shirt with ruffles, a bright yellow jacket with black and gold mirrored glass circles and a head-dress with cabaret feathers.

He is a breath of fresh air with energy and good humour.  His tale of travel to England from Africa includes multiple baptisms and explains how he became a ‘prince’.  He finds that Londoners like him to be ‘exotic’ and he is happy to please if it works in his favour.  When sales of his useless potions declines he travels to Brighton selling rude postcards and there finds his fortune as a tipster and begins his courtship of ‘Lady Luck’.

Prince Monolulu has ‘pretty advice for pretty ladies’.  It is 1920.  The derby.  The sound of horses hooves.  He smacks his bum like the jockey.  The surprise on his face when the horse romps in is funny, joyous and unforgettable due to Israel Oyelumade’s acting.

It is evident a lot research went into all parts, these monologues are written well by Ella Hickson.

Cast Credits:  Alex Childs – Christiana Edmunds.  Lewis McKale – The Blind Busker – Harry Vowles.  Israel Oyelumade – Ras Prince Monolulu.

Company Credits:  Writer – Ella Hickson.  Directors – Mike Stubbs and Nick Brice.  Soundscapes – Alistair Lock.  Technical Manager – Zak Bichon-Flannery.  Venue Manager and Director – Tony Jaffe.  Photographs – Chris Vowles.  Producers – Mike Stubbs and Nick Brice.  Company – Bite-Size.  http://www.bite-size.org.

(c) Wendy Thomson 2010

reviewed Saturday 8 May 2010