Miss Behave’s Variety Nighty, Blackpool Grand Theatre, Febuary 14th 2009
I haven’t written a blog about a gig in a long while or so it seems. There are numerous reasons for this. One is I haven’t been to a gig for some time (Opeth in November 2008). Another is I never remember the set list. Probably the most important is I never remember the names of the songs and it’s frankly embarrassing to write a review of a gig when I can’t actually name any of the songs.
However, and this is a big however, Miss Behave’s Variety Nighty is a different matter. I have a program next to me to which I can refer when I’m struggling to remember the name of any of the acts and Darcy is sat on the sofa with me and I can ask him if the program is no help.
I’ll start at the very beginning. Darcy asked me a few months ago if I fancied going to see Miss Behave’s Variety Nighty. I answered with a resounding “yes”, as I had seen Admission All Classes last year hosted by the magnificent female sword swallower and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Well Darcy booked the tickets and got me discounted car parking too and off we set last night for Blackpool, all bright eyed and excited. We had a quick drink in the bar and then went and found our seats and sat down, ready for the show. First of all, though, various ladies, gents (well one gent and he was wearing a short skirt, stockings and high heels) and drag queens (I hope I got that bit right – I sometimes have difficulty distinguishing between female impersonators and drag queens) were offering programs, chocolates and roses to the punters. We got ourselves a program and took a good look around at everybody else there.
We had Blackpool royalty there for the evening in the person of Miss Stella Artois and her escort and very regal she was too. She has the Queen Elizabeth wave down to a fine art and I thought she looked great. There were plenty of other very interesting people in the audience and Darcy noticed some people in forties and fifties dress in the stalls behind us.
Before long, the lights went down and Miss Behave appeared on stage. She did the introduction and drew our attention to the busts of Shakespeare and Handel above the boxes. Shakespeare is looking towards the audience and Handel towards the stage. That is because at premieres of his music, Handel would keep an eye on the orchestra to make sure everything was going well and during his plays, Shakespeare would keep an eye on the audience for the same reason. So you see, entertaining and educational.
The acts included The Amazing Marawa, who hulaed, Alex Dandridge, who made us laugh while he did tricks with a spinning football and juggled, Lady Carol on the ukulele, with a magnificent voice and great comedic touches, Jon Hicks, who has a similar painting style to that of Rolf Harris, Bret Pfister, who combined gymnastics and acrobatics on a huge ring swinging from the ceiling and Ida Barr, a music hall/hiphop fusion artist.
The highlights for me were Miss Behave, Barry and Yvonne (Couple Number 69), Earl Okin and Ursula Martinez.
Miss Behave was the compère but entertained us with a few tricks of her own, including a trick with a rose, which she pushed through the piercing in her tongue and then used it to pull her tongue out of her mouth and twist it round: disturbing and extremely amusing at the same time. She also swallowed a sword, which I managed to watch this year (I am of a nervous disposition and passed on it last year). Just as she was about to swallow (oo-er), a man in the audience shouted “Go on” and the poor woman had to compose herself again. Later in the show, she swallowed a table leg – which was hilarious and amazing as the table had a tray with a bottle of wine and glass on it, which didn’t topple over.
Barry and Yvonne are ballroom dancers. Their set started off with a misunderstanding and some innuendo. Barry came onto the stage from Backstage but Yvonne came through the audience. There was a massive dispute about this with Yvonne pointing out that Barry likes to come in the rear. Then as Yvonne clambered very clumsily onto the stage, with the help of a member of the audience, she hurt her thigh, which she then got the poor sod to rub better. After some introductions and some superb contortions from Yvonne, they danced a Paso Doble: in much the same way that Les Dawson used to play The Entertainer. You have to be really good at something to do it so awfully and make it funny. I was almost in tears they were so funny.
Earl Okin was also hilarious. He was billed as a musical genius and sex symbol. Obviously, you will have to make up your own minds but here is a clip to help you.
He sang two songs, “My Room”, a musical seduction, and “Bessie, Bessie, Bessie”, a wonderfully non-PC song about a highly unattractive woman. His impressions of musical instruments, especially the trumpet, were both hilarious and impressive.
The final act was Ursula Martinez. I am considering how I am going to describe her act tomorrow at work when people ask me if I had a nice weekend because I am definitely going to mention it. She did a trick with a hanky. She pushed it into her hand and it disappeared. She then found it in her jacket pocket and took off her jacket, revealing only a bra underneath. Fair enough, I thought, close up magic, no sleeves to hide anything in but not really the sort of magician you’d have at children’s parties. The hanky disappeared again and then skirt came off, then the bra and finally the panties. It was hilarious and a really good act but I don’t know whether to describe her as a stripper who does magic or a magician who strips. It’s a bit of a dilemma.
After her, the fat lady sang and the show was over. Darcy and I returned to the car and as we were walking upstairs in the car park, he tripped and knocked me over as well, a là domino. We hobbled back to the car, Darcy complaining loudly that he was too old and next he’ll need help with dressing himself and we came home.
It was a fantastic night and we’re still both smiling at the thought of it.