Vern Allen Showcase 2016 Reviewer Johnny Tait

Vern Allen Showcase 2016

Ladram Bay Holiday Centre

November 21st

Reviewer Johnny Tait


Before the showcase officially began, on a stormy night in Devon, we were entertained by acoustic guitarist and vocalist Alan Dobson.


Sammy Christiansen opened with a Sam Cooke number, Twisting the Night Away. I felt this was not a suitable number for her, but she hit the spot with the Bruno Mars song she chose for her third number.  For some reason or another, Sammy laughed at her own comments between songs. Surely if the audience think they are funny they will laugh without prompting.


The second act didn’t show, so compere Noel Brodie filled in the time, as vocal duo Traveller seemed unaware that they now on second. The girl vocalist was well turned out with a silver and black polka-dot dress, while her male partner played the keyboard wearing a suit similar to the one I was wearing. It seems like we both shop in Tesco’s. It is clear to see that Traveller have put in the miles and have learned their craft.


Melton Mowbray is well established on the variety circuit. He is both unique and highly entertaining. I have had the pleasure of working alongside super clown Brian and his attractive partner Julie, on numerous occasions and I never tire of their spoof illusion that is suitable for any audience of any nationality.


I first saw James Bay perform his song, Hold Back the River, in my local pub when I loaned him my P.A so that he could gig there. Jason Howard opened with that number and he did it justice. A well turned out vocalist with a repertoire ranging from the early sixties to modern times with a personality that the audience warm to.


Anthony Jay has a powerful voice, which he demonstrated as he burst onto the stage hitting us with a medley of soul numbers. Anthony is suitable for cabaret and as a party act to fill the dance floor.


If you are looking for a stunning visual magic act, then look no further than Ollie Collins. With the clever use of lighting and lasers, Ollie showed that his act is suitable for any family audience.


Taking to the stage, looking how I would imagine a mad professor to look, came Arnold Gutbucket. In a whirlwind of parodies and one liners, this performer amused the audience whilst using the torrential rain we had on the evening to his advantage, by showing us that he can be topical.


Bella Voci is an attractive three girl vocal act, their appearance is faultless they really look a picture in their matching black sequinned dresses. They performed a few classic ballads finishing with, Bring Him Home from Les Miserable. Although I do feel they are limited to the audiences that they would appeal to.


Husband and wife duo Face 2 Face were vocally sound and I loved the way they really looked like they were enjoying themselves. They showed their vocal range with numbers ranging from Meat Loaf to Barcelona, originally sang by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Cabale. In short, this act is spot on if you are looking for an act to create a party atmosphere.


A bizarre visual comedy act was presented by David Andrews. Half way into the act he began to speak. This entire act seemed to rely on members of the audience joining him onstage. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with that, but would you want the success of your act to depend on how the audience perform?


The session was brought to close by vocal act Kings Rhapsody. Singing numbers made popular by Queen, they were supported by two girl dancers. In my view, this is a good act with powerful vocals, but clearly not a Queen tribute.















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