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John Howe Presentations Ltd Showcase 2014 session 3 and 4

John Howe Presentations Ltd Showcase 2014

Riverside Park Bognor

Session three November 18th evening.

John Howe Presentations Ltd Showcase 2014
Riverside Park Bognor
Session three November 18th evening.
A new session and a new compere in the shape of the multi-talented Craig Harper. This amiable all-rounder hit the ground running with a masterful opening comedy warm-up style introduction. This expansive entertainer proved yet again that the best compere figures are almost invariably versatile all-rounders, able to fill in at the drop of the hat and always able to throw in a well turned tune or two. Craig Harper always fits the bill whenever I see him at the helm of any trade showcase.
Two girl act Affinity gave us songs from Emily Sande and a bit of close harmony singing with a version of the Mama Cass Elliot song California Dreaming. The voices tallied nicely and some of the harmonies were suitably dovetailed, but sometimes intrusive vocals were audible on the backing track. Somehow I couldn’t escape the impression these ladies were two solo artistes, crowbarring the credentials required by a double act into their respective CV’s.
Julieanna as Dame Vera Lynn is sure to attract business after performing in front of such an eclectic group of bookers. A radio broadcast of the then prime minister Neville Chamberlain declaring war, recorded back in 1939 of course, provided the prelude for the mother of all wartime sing-songs. Julieanna captures the essence of the war years perfectly as the forces sweetheart, who kept a nation singing and smiling throughout the blitz.
A late addition to the programme was keyboards and vocals duo Worlds Apart. With the look of a lounge act, due to the presence of a crib sheet, presumably containing lyrics written on the music- stand, I can’t honestly see this act cutting the mustard in cabaret.
The market for family comedy acts in holiday parks needs to be exploited, as there are so few funny –people who can hold the full attention of a family audience. Immaculately turned out sartorially, AJ and Sykes presented a series of sight gags and bits of business and they are a brand new act. A double-act, without an acknowledged straight man, AJ and Sykes may need to alter their line in crowd approach. The cross-chat between the pair seems to cause the material to lose impact and impetus. However I am aware that AJ and Sykes are individual career professionals and this is a double-act who are sure to score heavily in the holiday parks during 2015, given a few tweaks and adjustments.
There are a plethora of Four Seasons tributes around right now. The Other Guys were on offer here and I would imagine that there will be work abounding from this showcase for this act. Not simply for the quality of the act, but simply for abundance in demand for this particular tribute subject. Certain presentational problems may limit the appeal of this particular act.
L.A Tour are a four- handed act featuring two male musicians on guitars and two female vocalists. Not a live band by any stretch of the imagination, a series of microphone calamities and some very busy backing tracks may have conspired to make this foursome conclude that perhaps this wasn’t their night.
One of the hits of the evening proved to be a loud, brash and extremely funny comedy magician by the name of Jezo. This was a stand-out performance from an entertainer totally unfazed by the stressful showcase situation. His use of the audience and sureness of comedy touch provided one of the hits of the entire showcase. Jezo is fresh and ready to bamboozle and bewilder the masses.
Feeling Good are a male/female duo with rather busy backing tracks, with merge with two fine singing voices. The haunting Christina Aguilera hit Say Something is a particular favourite of mine and performing a ballad of such sensitivity and subtlety takes a great deal of talent
Electric Cabaret is the collective name of a burlesque troupe, complete with male singer/emcee. The art of Burlesque is very much in vogue. Many feminist show business fans claim a sense of empowerment from the recent resurgence of a live show business genre, where women of all shapes and sizes are definitely in charge. For those who want something fresh and different, Electric Cabaret could be just the ticket.
Just Kylie consists of a pert-bottomed Minogue lookalike, clad on this occasion in a showgirl style costume, and her two female dancers. Mentions of the Kylie posterior are entirely warranted, as this attribute is as much of a pre-requisite of this particular tribute as a rhinestone suit is on an ‘Elvis’. A good, strong live vocal was maintained throughout and the choreography, though simple, was well delivered.
After another appearance from Jason Lee Howlett, who had appeared on the previous evening, it was the turn of the final act of the Tuesday evening session The Rocketeers. A traditional and live four piece guitars and drums band, this a fine standard holiday centre and function attraction. The edginess of live instruments always beats the often sanitized backing track or click-track brigade. The Rocketeers are four guys who produced one of the standout sets of the entire event.

John Howe Presentations Showcase 2014
November 19th session four.
Day three and another late afternoon session was soon upon us, as bookers gathered for yet more showcase talent. Compere for day three and sessions four and five was West Country comedian Stewart Masters. Friendly and folksy, Masters knows his business and the trio of comperes invited by John and Dot Howe over the three days all gave of their best.
I am a sucker for Sondheim and glamorous singer Kerri Chipper delivered a selection from A Little Night Music and a segment of Bond music. The impression here was of a lounge singer, who is used to smaller audiences. The talking down of the applause was a real giveaway of her background. I would suggest that the talent Ms Chipper could be selling herself short. With a few adjustments and better use of the stage, there could potentially be much more here.
Two large gentlemen in smart matching suits came next. Collectively known as Larger than Life, if I caught either of them in bed with my wife I would tuck them in! Taking my life in my hands, I would suggest that the extremely limited vocal ability and presence of over-powering backing vocals on the tracks, will limit the appeal of two men who could well secure employment as singing night club bouncers.
Dave Garner is the real deal! A keyboard player par excellence, a stand-up comedian and a singer too, this talented and versatile gentleman comes from a show business generation when the skills required were very different to today. For those of us who lament the loss of truly live music from our UK Cabaret stages, we can only hope that many more Dave Garner’s are in the pipeline. Sadly I make this statement more in hope than expectation.
Announced as an ‘alternative comedian’, whatever that is these days, Glen West delivered a spot of caustic, abrasive, original and funny stand-up. A comedy virgin, it seems that this young man has much potential and I’m sure the experience will have done him the world of good.
As a Spanish speaker of admittedly only moderate ability, I can however confirm that the word ‘Chiquitita’, translates into English as ‘Little One’. All of which seems rather apt for a smaller scale Abba tribute act, featuring only the two Abba girls, who arrived clad in the pre-requisite matching kimono style garments. With no ‘Benny’ or ‘Bjorn’ on-board, the budget end of the tribute market would seem to be targeted here.
Closing the afternoon session out was American singing star Ricky Zalez, who we were informed is a recent arrival from across the pond. From the moment of his impressive looking walk-on, right throughout an eclectic and well thought out set, Zalez came across as the stand-out solo artiste of the entire event. This handsome Hispanic looking crooner should have UK work coming out of his ears on this showing.

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