Warehouse 23 Wakefield
March 10th 2016
Reviewer – Mark Ritchie
This lovely evening out in the heart of Wakefield city centre produced a true variety line-up, held in an atmospheric and unusual venue and all in aid of a local hospice charity.
The organiser was UK Cabaret subscriber and contributor Thomas Anthony, whose magical alter-ego is known as Antonio Zip. There is a degree of pathos built into the assumed personality of Zip, a white-faced magician, who morphs into action and crosses over into character before the very eyes of his audience. The child-like mode of apparent personal satisfaction from the artiste was peculiar, yet oddly endearing. The best thing about this performer is that I can’t think of anyone at all that he reminds me of. This type of variety act would look great on television but, as we in mainstream light entertainment are all too aware, in myopic view of the bright young things in TV land, if it’s not happening in the student union bar or the comedy club, it’s not going to be booked on telly. Not without being scoffed at and/or patronised at least.
Compere for the show as magician John Danbury. An industry professional, who seems to have picked up the knowledge of how to fill the often exacting Compere role with consummate ease, Danbury was in fine fettle.
Singer Joseph O’Brien’s star is very much in the ascendency, after recent national trade showcase success. I would venture to suggest that this accurately pitched and ultra-dapper singer has much more of a chance then most to continue in an upwards direction on the show-business ladder. I noticed that, once returning to his seat in the audience after his excellent swing-based set, this shrewd and respectful young man was keen to study the performances of the other artistes on stage. This is often a sign of a performer very likely to succeed.
Unicyclist, plate-spinner and juggler Michael Jordan is a performer I have seen and enjoyed before. At the younger end of the speciality entertainer scale, if this highly-skilled and engaging performer isn’t already extremely busy, he really should be. Michael Jordan presents a top-drawer speciality act and his appearance provided one of the shows many highlights.
Compere Danbury joked about experienced looking function type swing singer Richard Daniels, appearing on a telly show called Come Dine with Me. It seems odd to many that cabaret entertainers find their only route to exposure is by appearing in cooking shows and the like, but hey-ho, that’s how telly seems to roll these days. Judging by Mr Daniels performance on this particular evening, he is well used to coolly delivering swing songs at functions or weddings etc.
Closing the show out was singer Liz Keeting. Being completely honest, I have never seen or heard of this artiste before. Miss Keeting has a great voice and has clearly picked up her accomplished line in crowd-approach in front of live audiences somewhere.
In short, this was a lovely evening, with cabaret entertainment performed in front of a receptive audience. A live backing band would have been nice, instead of the fiddling with play-back paraphernalia, but this was still a delightful evening nonetheless.