John Howe Presentations Ltd Showcase 2014 session 5
November 19th session five
John Howe Presentations Ltd Showcase 2014
November 19th session five
The fifth and final showcase session revealed that a few bookers were conspicuous in their absence, as another event was apparently on in Devon on the same evening and some had simply moved on. However the mood was set with the aid of two walkabout meet and greet magicians from the Masters of Magic company, who table-hopped slickly and with splendid abandon.
Compere Stewart Masters got the show going with a few welcoming wisecracks, before moving things along rapidly by announcing the arrival of The House Band. This four piece girl fronted party band played their set in segued form and left no-one in any doubt as to their impressive credentials. Their vocalist was especially eye-catching.
Ben Dali is billed as a stage hypnotist and mentalist. Sight gags and suggestibility tests followed, but Dali’s line in patter and presentational skills could make him a winner in many corporate or cabaret situations. Even former head of advertising at The Stage Graham Ireland ended up on stage being bamboozled by the very slick Mr Dali.
Back to the music and a vocal instrumental act by the name of Best Behaviour. A male guitarist be-decked with a jaunty ‘titfer’, was joined by an excellent female vocalist who completed an impressive picture. The presence of a music stand with lyrics on always suggests a lounge act. The use of a stand surprises many performers who, like me, are of the belief that memorising song lyrics is very much part of the job.
Circle of Two have emerged in recent years as one of the hottest properties in the European speciality act market. A husband and wife team, Ralph is British and partner Celia is Spanish. Clearly inspired by the silent film days of expressive clowning, Circle of Two, form a seamless amalgam between physical theatricality and circus balance and acrobatic skills. In short, their appearance alone was worth this reviewer’s long and arduous journey from Yorkshire.
Singer Jennie Castell bears the distinction of being the only performer of the entire event to sing accompanied by a fade-out karaoke style track. Things picked up immeasurably after the opening number for his beautifully attired entertainer, who we had seen earlier in the showcase of part of The Poppies line-up.
Simply Lily is a tribute to Lily Allen and the Ska end of Miss Allen’s repertoire was well and truly delved into. This lady is a dead-ringer for the real thing. If there is sufficient demand for this particular tribute, this would appear to be the only such tribute to Lily that I am aware of.
Max Francis had appeared earlier, for the VIP diners at least, as a table-hopping magician. Now here he was on stage as a magician performing dexterous nonsense with balloons and cards etc. Some great patter too and the clear impression gleaned that here we were watching a real entertainment industry professional.
Greggi G and His Crazy Gang is one of the best band monikers I have ever come across. As for the band themselves, this is good old fashioned rock and roll, The line-up of keyboards, drums, guitar and a huge double bass strike all the right notes and these guys know their business.
Following such a huge sound was a wonderfully turned out three girl act called The Lipsticks. Joanna, Sophia and Francesca, who make up the act, perform a ‘Ladies of Rock and Roll’ style genre tribute show. The matching dresses and toothpaste-ad smiles set the visual mood. The harmonies and general vocal ability should make this act very popular in social clubs and themed corporate events.
I have seen and enjoyed comedy vocal entertainer Gary Dorsey before. This showcase outing showed a part of his repertoire that I haven’t seen before. Comedy parody portraying Tom Jones as an old and decrepit creature and Luciano Pavarotti exploring his own sex life, were both very funny indeed. Dorsey is a real all-rounder and his sheer versatility is reflected by his busy diary.
Penultimate act on the bill was a vocal instrumental duo by the name of Cover Up. Sweet Home Alabama is such a good song when performed with a live acoustic guitar sound and these guys look like refugees from the band scene who are trying their hand as a duo.
Closing the entire event out was Juke Box Jersey’s and their tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The most obvious omission here was that they only three in number. I’m sure there must be some reasoning behind this trio line-up, but I’m afraid I couldn’t make a lot of sense of this. Yet again, this crazy business never ceases to amaze and bewilder!
Hat’s off to John and Dot Howe and their industrious team for making their showcase such a pleasure to attend. Hopefully many more potential UK Cabaret subscribers have been made aware of our fledgling publication, by attending this and other such events. That in itself makes my showcase travels worthwhile, but the laughs and the company were just as pleasant on the Sussex coast.