Reviewer Mark Ritchie
The final session and a big start with Compere Lee Lard warming up the early evening crowd with his usual razor sharp barbed wit and bonhomie.
Brad Pepper is the name of a smart and well prepared singer, who sang the new Sam Smith, ’Bond Song’, have it should be sung. This young man is a real prospect.
Danni Mayers fronts a four piece, semi-live soul and motown party band, who showed all the perils of playing over sequencer tracks, with backing vocals on them. This really wasn’t her night.
The Drive are a live four piece rock band, made up if some shady-looking characters, all clad entirely in black. The last song I expected them to open with was Abba’s Waterloo and I suspect these tongue-in-cheek guys do things very much their own way.
A real treat next with the big sound of The Walcott Band. A live five piece, all-male band and surely a market-leader as a party or function show-band. The appeal is endless- the diary must already be bulging.
2 Fat 4 That were afforded a big comedy build-up, appropriate to their billing, but in the event what we got was three male singer/dancers and a saxophonist who performed rock and roll and harmony. Based on what we saw, this looked like a witty, musical act.
Chanteuse style singer Elaine Gilmour looks like an experienced cabaret campaigner. Ms Gilmour possesses the type of skills that many of the karaoke kids today would do well to try and learn. Elegant and composed, Elaine Gilmour made a very favourable impression.
Comedy duo A.J & Sykes have been trying to crack the clean comedy route into the holiday parks. I would imagine on this fun showing, someone may take a chance on this twosome during 2016.
All girl singing trio Fixation were brought along by UK Cabaret subscribers Layton entertainments and this has the look of a new act with considerable potential.
Yet another Frankie Valli type act followed, this time the four on stage were The New Jerseys. There must be work for them all but, as ever with this type of act, is it hard to determine how much of the audible vocal is being produced live.
The evening also featured a guest appearance from Bob Blakeley, who came to the public’s attention due to his appearance on the BBC show The Voice. Bob was brought to us by UK Cabaret subscriber Mal Ford at Personality Artistes.
I saw gorgeous vocal instrumentalist Caz Krelle at the recent Curtains Up event (UK Cabaret October edition). The impression then as now was more than favourable.
James William Hutchinson appeared next with his tribute to Olly Mrs, known as Only Olly. There are seemingly dozens of Olly’s out there, so there must be a market for them all!
Something about singer Hannah Delaney drew my attention instantly. The assured look and feel of an artiste who adds texture and heart to a song was there for all to see. In my view, this was a stand-out performance from an extremely engaging artiste.
Motown’s Legends are a two boy vocal act from the Lucas management stable. It seems that Barrie and Vicci provide a one-stop shop for soul and motown tribute and cabaret acts and these guys are well up the usual standard.
Irish swing singer Noel Porter looked as though he was living the dream. I would imagine this mature performer loves to sing and looks very smart.
Little Chix are a Little Mix tribute girl group, who look very well-rehearsed and highly bookable. The girls should have done some business, despite the lateness of the hour.
The honour of closing the whole show out fell to solo singer Scott Dennett, who gave a very good account of himself and deserves enormous credit for his late night efforts.
So, for the Showcase productions team, it’s on to Stratford Upon-Avon for their next showcase in late January. An iconic venue for the now established national Showcase Productions events, complete with all kinds of memories of The Stage (when they covered our end of the business, in return for purchasing a page in a once very thick book) and Showcall Showcase and the good times and all that …….back at the real home of the trade showcase at last!
Expert’s Choice- Julie Butcher of Park Resorts chose- The Walcott Band & Motown Legends