After a big week of conference organising, what better to wind down with than a few drinks and some naughty shows. We saw Miss Kitka's House of Burlesque present "A Night at the Pink Flamingo", and Masters of Space and Time (what a name!) present "Saucy Panto". What fun!
Miss Kitka's group is an amateur troupe, with some seriously good singers and dancers, as well as some not so good... But it's all a great romp, and the amateur parts only add to the charm. I love this because it's not slick mass produced stuff - there are bodies of all shapes, ages and genders. Very cool.
This show was a pisstake of the sleazy 50s casino. A pair of drunken ratpack crooners hosted, showgirls in corsets and pink feathers strutted around, there was singing and dancing and comedy and stripping, sometimes all at once. This show was at the Casino, in an upstairs room that has clearly seen better days. Bad astronomical paintings represented its Galaxy nightclub phase; the bar seemed more confusedly tropical with sombreros and hula skirts. And we had plastic glasses for our G&T! Very tacky indeed. It would have been perfect for the show, if the space had been smaller. The audience was rather swimming in it, though we gamely pulled our tables to the front and pretended. I felt all conspiratorial and part of the act, and I had a hugely fun time. Look out next year for a world war two themed show, and I hear rumour of a fairytale one.
The next day I saw the Saucy Panto the Street Theatre. It was in theatre 2, which I think is the smallest theatre I've ever been in. Even the Gorman House youth theatre space is bigger. The show was a hoot; chock full of stereotypes and all the in-you-end-oh you could wish for in a panto. It's not a traditional fairy tale; though there are some good Cinderella bits. The story concerns an evil club manager who is trying to put on the best show to outdo his rivals. He is thwarted by a sexy accountant, and ripped off by the performers - the Lord of Misrule as a TV show host, with his bearded Dame wife, and two creepy murderous daughters. Their put-upon plucky stepdaughter of course finds true lurve with the principal boy, who is the curiously buxom and high-voiced "son" of the would-be sinner vicar. A puppet elf, oddly named Winky, not Wanky, supplies commentary, love potions and other plot devices. The set was very simple but well-dressed; a clever gigantic Xmas parcel box featured in the action.
The troupe performing there were young professionals, and they were all terrific. The Lord (Arran McKenna) was a dervish-like force of nature, vile, gluttonous and hilarious. David Clapham strode about in terrible drag as the Dame, full of charisma like a young Bill Oddie. He's a multi-talented bloke; he was also a director and designer. If I had to name a flaw, the script's little framing lectures delivered by the puppet-master seemed a bit condescending and redundant. I was at a panto, not a lecture, thank you. The puppet's constant wanking was overdone - yes, it was clever, but all the time? And the bar was closed at interval! What a terrible shock! I was all set to buy a pint of gin, as advertised in the program.