Reviewer Mark Ritchie
After a successful afternoon opening session, it was time for a change of Compere and the force of nature that is Ricky K. Long one of my favourite ever UK comedy entertainers, Ricky was soon out and into his business of creating comedy mayhem, while at the same time gluing a show very firmly together. Ricky doesn’t just sing to an audience- he sings at them. As mad as a box of frogs, Ricky K is nevertheless a winner in front of any audience, who happen to be armed with both a sense of the ridiculous and a pulse.
We were informed that smooth and soulful Florida born singer Steve V King has married an English lady and is now residing in bracing Skegness. His deep and syrupy voice has a baritone quality, not unlike the great Lou Rawls. The business is sure to be plentiful for this artiste.
Four-piece, semi-live band Boombox came next. Their exceptionally strong frontman/ singer was backed up by three musicians, playing over tracks. Not one for the band purists, but certainly a party band with attitude, Boombox will tick many boxes for most bookers.
Next came Geoff Mull. Mr Mull is backed by a three piece, semi-live band who, judging by their recorded pre-amble, seem to have appeared on X-Factor. Having never seen the programme, I have no knowledge of how they fared within the talent circus. I would imagine Geoff Mull and his mates would be suitable for good class family holiday work and various party-based functions.
Jennison is the name of a live, three-piece band who will tick all the boxes for bookers with venues where truly live, Indie type covers bands are required. High-energy, young image covers band sell and sell and that is actually what Jennison offer.
Next came beautifully presented singer Hayley Russell, who entered resplendent in a shimmering golden gown. The Jim Steinman song, All Coming Back to Me Now was expertly sung and there should be business aplenty for this beautiful young lady.
I saw Troubadour recently, at the Curtains Up event. Once again this four-handed, all male, close harmony act made a powerful, compelling and highly entertaining case for claiming a place very high up the pecking order amongst this type of act. Troubadour are simply terrific!
I also saw magician Jamie Docherty twice recently, at other showcase events which I attended for UK Cabaret. Jamie is a new face in this highly specialised field and refer I UK Cabaret readers to the review of his successful outing at the John Mills showcase, where he was equally impressive.
The Jerseys came next, with their tribute to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. The vocals and falsetto contributions are both tight and well produced but, I would suggest that some audience members will question whether attention to haircuts and facial hair are important, in terms of the authenticity of a tribute act. These guys were augmented by an outing for the Viva show-girls, as The Jerseys are very much part of the Viva bill of fare on scheduled show nights.
Next came Bella Voci. Here we have a three-girl harmony act, comprising Keedie, Eloise and Lisa, who arrived with matching stage gowns, but rather incongruously, in my view, none of these tuneful ladies were wearing stage tights. There will be work for those ladies, but some tightening will be required here and there.
Four highly accomplished male vocalists, have joined forces and the result is The Jukes. Thoughtfully presented. immaculately turned out and highly relevant to a number of areas of the market, The Jukes stood out a mile to me in terms of quality and depth and breadth of talent. The phones should be ringing off the hook for these guys on this impressive showing.
Quirkily presented female singer Dani’L came next. I have no idea why, but this lady reminded me of Cyndi Lauper. Opening with the Roberta Flack arrangement of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Dani’L opened the throttle later in the set with her version of the Carole Bayer-Sagar composition, We Don’t Cry Out Loud. This talented singer revealed raw emotion within the music.
It took a while for the sound crew to get to grips with a duo by the name of Under the Covers. What we have here is a rather gothic looking boy/ girl act, with a dead-ringer for comedian Ross Noble, clad entirely in a black get-up, on guitar and his equally funereal female partner on vocals. Once completely in charge of their situation, Under the Covers settled into their task of appearing as what they actually are, a very bookable rock covers act, who are sure to occupy a niche in the market.
Like a number of the acts on the bill, I have seen magician Danny Lee Grew recently. I would suggest this wasn’t an ideal time of night for an act of this type, but this young man’s talent shone through.
Belleadore came next and these perfectly matched singers gave us their highly polished tribute to the great ladies of rock. The act was a huge success in the room on the night. These ladies, namely Georgie, Ellie and Beth, should really be in huge demand after this impressive showcase showing.
Never knowingly undersold, is a label foisted on many artistes over the years and OTT singer Jason Flint definitely belongs in this category. Mr Flint only seems to know one gear and that is overdrive. Perhaps his management may advise some light and shade within the performance, before Mr Flint explodes on the spot!
Experienced looking singer Barni Scott may well come from the folk music scene. By straying from the song choice furrow ploughed by so many of her contemporaries, Ms Scott will have been appreciated by many members of the late-night showcase audience.
Penultimate act of the first evening session was a boy girl act, Craig and Collette, known together as One Night Stand. Here we have a tuneful female singer and a smart male keyboard player. Suitable for functions or possibly certain areas of cabaret, this is a very experienced and professional workable act.
The final act of the evening was bespectacled singer Ash Denver, who opened with a strongly sung version of Stevie Wonder’s song, Superstition. A gravelly and well-pitched vocal delivery here, from a well presented young man with a terrific voice.
Tony Saxton- UK Cabaret representative chose Geoff Mull & Steve V King
Steve Sale- Unit One Entertainments chose Steve V King & The Jerseys