Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Spice Of Life

There are encouraging signs that variety is making a big come-back, along with a resurgent, modernised form of burlesque.

A few times in recent weeks, I've been enjoying the delights of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern's Brouhaha, their Wednesday night comedy thang. Of course, the RVT has been the womb from which sprang many an act, of whom Lily Savage is probably the most well-known. And of course, the roost is still ruled by the hugely talented Dame Edna Experience, who, on a good day, outclasses just about everyone. Ducky has been such an amazing hotbed of talent and creativity for years, and now it looks like it's catching on elsewhere.

My recent visits to the RVT have been during the Summer School, with Topping and Butch at the helm. They're great - the entry price is worth it just to hear whatever topical material they have put into this week's version of "Never Mind". The acts I've seen them introduce have included Lorraine Bowen, Ursula Martinez and Andy Parsons, among others. Huge diversity, quirky, odd, fabulous.

However, more recently I've noticed that all sorts of places are having Ducky-like variety nights. There are several such things happening in Soho during the week, in straight and gay venues. Further afield, there's the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club, proud home of some beautifully modern burlesque. And this evening, we're off to the St Aloysius Social Club near Euston to see a bizarre mixture of things brought together by Dr Dimaglio.

Perhaps it's a reaction against too much "reality" television (which was subjected to an interesting attack last night on Judge John Deed). Why bother sitting on your arse watching talentless no-hopers being boring together, when for the price of a couple of drinks, you can be entertained by people who actually make an effort to put a decent show together? I'm loving it.


Some time after creating this blog entry, I remembered the reason that it had occurred to me to write it at all. I happened to catch a bit of The Sorcerer's Apprentice this morning. This is a CBBC show which has been running over the school holidays, and apparently has done very well with the target demographic. This is good news to several of my magical friends and and acquaintances, not least Max Somerset, who plays the eponymous sorcerer, and Angelo Carbone who is the magic advisor for the show. The show that was on immediately after this one, though, was also very interesting, because it was based around a collection of performers with different styles of act who had to compete against each other to escape from a prison. The whole thing was basically variety, with a bit of a theme. Aunty is priming the next generation of variety lovers. Excellent!


Nick said...

Would you believe I've only just discovered RVT and the Dame Edna Experience? I've lived in London two years and it's taken me this long to discover the best Sunday afternoon/evening that there is to offer.

I quite like the look of David Hoyle's Magazine on Monday nights as well, I vaguely recall seeing The Divine David on late night Channel 4.

CyberPete said...

You are right!

There is way too much Big Brother and other mindless "entertainment" on tv. Just look at the Pussycat Doll show, if that is not a waste of airtime I don't know what is.

Glad you've found some excellent entertainment in your area.

Qenny said...

Hey, Nick, if you're going along to Brouhaha some night, we might actually get to meet each other. That will bring my total of fellow bloggers that I've actually met to four. (Tickersoid, Jungle Jane and Limehouse Dan all being folks that I've met in the flesh before.)

cyberpete, you are so right. Television is so last millennium! Live entertainment - much more fun.