Equity North and West Yorkshire Branch annual variety spectacularJubilee club Leeds
July 9 2015
Producer Valerie Mann& Ashley Wheelhouse
Reviewer Mark Ritchie
The Equity faithful gathered to enjoy a top notch variety show with headliner Billy Pearce largely responsible for putting bums on seats. The old adage about paying customers valuing live entertainment more when it isn’t free was rewarded with a busy concert room who, aide from one very loud and profane late-night heckler during the Billy Pearce spot, were a jolly and fun audience. Currently appearing elsewhere every evening during the summer, the enduringly funny Mr Pearce, so scandalously overlooked in television-land, was on fine form during an evening of laughter and friendship.
Glamorous songstress Malandra Burrows has enjoyed chart success in the past, mainly due to the pen of song-writer Sammy King, who was in the audience and rather bizarrely meeting the lady who he provided the hit for some 15 years ago, for the very first time. Formerly a member of the cast of rural soap Emmerdale, Ms Burrows seemed to have slipped away from the show business radar for quite a while. Appearing here in her home town, this lady revealed a fine set of pipes and clear musical theatre/stage school grounding and credentials.
Another star who has enjoyed chart success in the past is Ricky Graham, who was formerly a member of Child, a top 20 band of the late 1970’s. Providing an object lesson in crowd approach and how to sell a song, Ricky Graham was a valuable addition to the show and in closing the first half, his placing in the running order looked like a nice piece of production by event producer Ashley Wheelhouse
Compere for the evening was artiste and musician turned agent Harry Turnstyle, who provided the links and the banter as well as a well turned song or two. Some of the comedy chaos in the kink-work is very much part of the Turnstyle charm offensive.
Mach Two looked like a seasoned pair of show business professionals. In fact I recognised the female half of the act as former solo star Alida Jackson. It was a grand idea to include a pair of equity show business stalwarts on the bill.
Also guesting on the night was outstanding Jamaican born singer O’Brien Hesson, whose pin-point accuracy in terms of vocal pitch have made him one of the real up and coming stars of the moment. Given the general movement skills, my own view is that it would be great to see O’Brien Hesson looking sharp and dapper in a well cut stage suit.
All in all this was a fun night out and a well-produced event. The old variety club mode of presentation in leaving a five minute gap just before the headline act, added immeasurably to the cabaret feel of the show. Admittedly cabaret fans could have done without the bingo and the presence of one inebriated looking attention seeker in the audience, but hey…this is Clubland!