Monday, July 14, 2014

Finger in the Pie, 6th July

I'd only recently seen the crème de la crème of cabaret at Black Cat, so I was completely prepared to be underwhelmed by Finger in the Pie, a monthly cabaret show at Madame JoJo’s. On a Sunday.

But I've been wanting to check it out so took my Meetup group along with me. And when we got there and there was a queue, I began to wonder if I should expect a little more. I will admit, what followed wasn’t quite as sleek, sexy and showbiz as something like the Black Cat, but boy was it fun! And just plain weird.

Hosted by Michael Twaits, the manliest transvestite I’ve probably ever seen (he doesn’t even bother to shave his legs) we were treated to acts ranging from the ridiculous to the slightly less ridiculous. There was quite a heavy emphasis in this show on comedy, even when it wasn’t strictly a comedy routine. There were a few burlesque acts as well, a couple of which were rather routine, but one I really enjoyed – Little Lady Luscious did some actual ballet combined with a sort of dance of a thousand scarves routine. Different and effective, which is what I’m looking for in burlesque.

Some of the acts were just baffling but not necessarily in a bad way. Some of these were my favourites. ‘Katy’s friend’ for example, where ‘Katy’ came in dragging what I thought was a rock in a cart behind her. It wasn’t a rock, it was a sheep’s skull and then she sang ‘The first time ever I saw your head’ her ode to her deceased lamb lover.

Probably my absolute favouritest act was ‘Womans’. With a generic Borat-like accent she wooed us with the art form of dance. Unfortunately what she did doesn’t lend itself well to being described – it’s a ‘you had to have been there’ kind of act. Let me just say three words. Art. Bum. Tassles. Carlos, Istanbul’s premier operatic singer was a close runner for top performance. He came out with his accordion and ‘sang’ a song that is about as far from opera as you can get and was utterly hilarious. He’s actually got a solo show at Soho Theatre this week and I’d definitely recommend checking him out.

The truly weirdest act was probably Gentleman John and his friend. He came out with a colander on his head strapped on with an elastic band, a bushy moustache and boxing gloves, while his friend came out in multi-coloured clothes and some leggings on his head. And then they proceeded to fall about the stage muttering nonsense for about ten minutes. This actually was pretty funny, although for me probably went on for a tad too long before they muttered an almost incomprehensible ditty and disappeared off stage.

In between, Michal Twaits (who was at least as entertaining if not more so than the acts) would keep our enthusiasm levels high, make us laugh and even treat us to a song or two, taking suggestions from the audience. We persuaded him to sing Sweet Transvestite from Rocky Horror even though it went against all his instincts to avoid cliché, and that was a lot of fun, but his musical theatre ‘quartet’ was the best bit. He mashed up Nicki Minaj, Nirvana, Bon Jovi and one other into one of those ‘storyline recaps’ oft used in musicals where each separate character sings their theme song yet they all blend seamlessly into one new song. Know what I mean? No? Well then you probably don’t know musical theatre dahling!

So it was a fun night, and for only £10 you could do a lot worse – there were ten acts, excluding Michael, so a pound an act is not bad value at all. A good way to liven up a Sunday.

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.