JMA Entertainment Showcase 2015
13/14 October 2015
Producers John& Diana Mills
Reviewer Mark Ritchie
An iconic venue in Somerset was filled with live cabaret, as John Mills and his ultra-efficient team welcomed their guests. Celebrated Compere Steve Walls was on hand with the ‘fill-skills’ and the necessary nous and pizzazz required in order to make a good bill into a great showcase.
Live party band Soul Limits can appear as either a four piece or full brass section equipped eight piece. I would imagine this bright, breezy and extremely tuneful outfit would fill any dance floor, any time, any place.
Mr Eerius is a magic man for all occasions who, in various guises, presents big box magic or smaller scale and more intimate magic. Armed with the confidence, skill and aplomb that only comes of experience and dexterity, Mr Eerius showed us lots of visuals and some lovely hands, which seem to be built for deflection.
Ultra 90’s Fresh is a marketed genre tribute, whose members are also part of other tribute line-ups of various larger and smaller dimensions. All the fashions and moves are there to more than match the music.
Allan Roberts is possibly capable of disproving the current theory that solo comedians, without visuals or a discernable gimmick cannot command large, family holiday centre audiences. Handling stages like Butlins requires both ideas and big personalities. Roberts has both and is a massively engaging comedy Geordie singer and comic.
The Songbirds are a two sister act, resplendent with sparkling frocks and even more sparking harmony’s. A Caro Emerald track was augmented with a general look and feel of a professionally presented cabaret act.
Killerstream are one of a number of high-energy party bands showcasing their talents at Butlins on this October evening. Having just been informed by text that my football team (Barnsley FC) had just triumphed, I was over the moon during Killerstream’s top drawer, well played and tight showcase set. My good mood was augmented by a feel-good party band, who delivered the goods on the night.
iLectric proved more than capable of following the impressive band before them. The powerhouse female vocalist out front appeared to be singing over the B.V’s on the track, but the thickening of the overall sound worked somehow.
Alexander Jay is a magician and illusionist who, along with his sister Ginny, presents an impressive big-box speciality show. Young Alexander has enormous stage presence.
There are numerous ‘show-in-a-box’ style musicals shows, but the seven strong company known as Broadway Spectacular certainly seem to have the quick-change and vocal abilities to make their mark. In short this is an outstanding niche attraction.
We Are Robot provided a great contrast to the act before them. A four piece, live guitar-based band, who opened with a Travis cover, but also revealed song-writing skills of their own.
Jack Glanville is a bit of a comedy legend in his native West Country and is surely now ready to move up to the next level, whatever that is these days. The creatures from TV land are apparently starting to notice Glanville, who for some reason reminds me very much of his fellow West Country funny-man Andy Ford, while retaining a comic style which is very much his own.
Closing the first evening out was Last Night’s Victory, a live guitars and drums trio, who opened with a cover of The Fratelli’s classic rabble-rouser Chelsea Dagger. Possibly with their roots in the pub-rock scene, these guys also gave a guitarists take on soul and party music.