in the Big Brother House at BBC Radio 1s ‘Fun and Filth Cabaret’ at the Edinburgh Festival.
The theme music is, again, very badly-mimed by the opening clutch (I think that’s the right collective noun) of writhers and gyrators. Tonight they’re wearing flapper dresses, off of the 1920s.
In-keeping with this theme Scott and Grimmy are dressed like Richard Gere in An Officer And A Gentleman. Not exactly themed at all, then. And is it only me starting to see a bit of a gay theme to the show after just the second night?
Meanwhile, back on stage, straight away there’s a difference to last night’s effort. Mills and Grimmy work the audience. Four minutes in to the show and there are the beginnings of a tangible atmosphere. Already the stage feels warmer.
The guest host is introduced: Dappy, off of N-Dubz.
The first act on-stage are the awesomely amusing Irish duo ‘Abandoman’. I saw these guys in the Comedy Tent at Cornbury Festival earlier this year and I know what’s coming.
Taking random words from the audience (and Mills, Grimmy and Daffy) and accompanied by an acoustic guitar, Abandoman perform freestyle rap. In an Irish accent. Trust me, it works.
Crowd participation, music, performance and laughs; Abandoman are a quality stage act. They work the crowd, they work hard and they’re bloody brilliant. When they’re finished there’s almost a sigh from the crowd, as they take a moment to get their breath back.
Coming hard on the heels of an act as driven, and as connected to the audience as Abandoman are, has to be one of the toughest things for any modern stage performer. Who are the poor saps who have drawn this short straw?
Step forward Britain’s Got Talent competitors Gay and Alan Cooper, the hand-
wringing ringing campanologists.
Gay and Alan (who seem to be a thoroughly likeable couple) accompany, on the hand-bells, a mix of R&B numbers. And it doesn’t sound too bad.
Things take an unlikely turn when a balloon dancer (in a body suit) prances on-stage and the music changes to Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from Act Two of Щелкунчик (The Nutcracker, by Tchaikovsky).
See how muso we are here?
As Radio 1 DJ Greg James (for it is he) prances around the stage, accompanied by Gay and Alan on the hand-bells, Daffy bursts the balloons in time with the music. It’s not exactly comedy gold, but it is fair-value entertainment. And full marks to Gay and Alan for throwing themselves in to it and not blowing the atmosphere.
Next on-stage is a stand-up comedian. Comedienne.
Roisin Conaty kicks off by telling us she’s 32-years old and single. You’d be forgiven for wondering if this section has been sponsored by Match.com. Roisin tries hard, just a bit too hard.
We have a kind of interlude where the Ladyboys of Bangkok take centre stage in their show costumes, and waggle it about a bit to the theme.
Mills, Grimmy and Daffy take the stage to introduce tonight’s webcam act. Harriett is beaming in live from the Wirral. She’s 16 and Grimmy, ever the master of tact and diplomacy, says ‘I thought you were about four’. What a guy. Not.
Harriett plays keys and sings a bit as she covers Empire State of Mind. Let me rephrase that. Harriett plays keys and sings really really nicely. I’m not sure about the keys, if I’m honest, but I love Harriett’s breathing, phrasing, delivery and intonation. Daffy sums Harriett’s performance up with a pointed ‘She don’t need X-Factor’ and later adds ‘A breath of fresh air’.
OMG, I’m agreeing with Daffy.
The next act is Kiki Kaboom. To Elvis’ old-time rocker ‘Trouble’, Kiki – dressed like a poundshop chav – takes the stage and does some sultry buttock-waving, picks a verbal disagreement with Daffy, and dances a bit more.
You’ve heard of Streetdance? This is Streetstrip. Kiki’s clothes begin to fall away revealing curves and attitude in more-or-less equal measures. Not the kind of girl you’d take home to meet the family, but definitely the kind of girl you’d want to meet on a night out. Daffy gets a lapdance. Kiki’s bra comes off and topless -and nearly bottomless – Kiki Kaboom strides offstage with her virtue and attitude intact.
Stand-up comedian Brett Goldstein takes the stage and gets the audience on his side straight away. Brett gives us the first riot-related iPhone joke. There’s probably an app for that.
Scott, Grimmy and Daffy return to the stage and take some time and spend some effort working the audience. It is almost impossible to compare night one’s lacklustre effort with the sparkle they have injected in to night two.
I begin to feel sorry for Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer and Axis of Awesome, for last night they were let down by their hosts’ lack of tradecraft.
Abandoman retake the stage and, because of the link efforts of Scott, Grimmy and Daffy, the audience are still warm.
The Irish duo perform Kanye’s ‘Still Salmon’. You must have heard it. It’s the one that has been autotuned to within an inch of its life (because that makes it stand out from all the others, obv). And yet, it’s the best thing Kanye has never done.
Night two of the Fun and Filth Cabaret is the antidote to the first night’s artless, guileless offering. Abandoman leave the stage to be replaced by Angelos.
Yes, the gormless Sainsbury bag-carrying twat comes out and interviews Daffy. In the time it takes Angelos to walk to the centre of the stage, the atmosphere has all but evaporated and the spirit of the occasion has been killed deader than a very dead thing.
Angelos introduces Daffy as Dippy; he looks embarrassed and reluctant. I try hard not to doze off but fail.
When I regain consciousness Daffy is being hugged by Scott while the Ladyboys of Bangkok take the stage to perform their signature booty-waving and the credits roll.
Tonight’s effort is better than that of night one by a distance slightly greater than 10 to the power of my overdraft. This was a much easier show to watch and a totally different calibre of entertainment to review: Fun and Filth Cabaret, Edinburgh 2011 (night 2):
Gay and Alan Cooper (and Greg James): 6/10
Kiki Ka Boom: 5/10
Brett Goldstein: 5/10