Showcase Productions 2016 session three
Reviewer: Vicky Bailey (Editor’s note) We are proud to have invited Vicky Bailey into the UK Cabaret team. Vicky has managed, performed and administered holiday centre style entertainment and cruise ship cabaret in this country and abroad. She is also involved in light entertainment television work for Endemol Television and other leading production companies.
Simply More Red kicked us off tonight and they were fabulous. A safe solid professional tribute band attraction. There is not much more to add, except to say they did what we would expect them to do and did it very well.
The Dolly Parton show was performed by Kennedy Caitlin. This act is a more than fair and acceptable Dolly tribute. This artiste looks great in her Dolly costume and stays in character throughout, by giving us Dolly’s accent between songs and during her interview with Compere Lee Lard.
The Valli Boys are very slick and smooth as they deliver their great harmonies. The members of this act work together as a four piece incredibly well.
Surely one of the longest introductions ever, preceded the arrival of Ms Shelley Stevens of The Shelley Stevens Band. Once into their stride, we saw highly accomplished musicians. When Shelley Stevens finally arrived, after yet another live introduction from a member of her band, she was so worth the wait. Ms Stevens is sassy, classy, and downright fabulous. Any agent or booker who engages this band will realise immediately that they are sure to deliver above and beyond anything expected of them.
Bursting on stage, full of beans came Brad Pepper, who opened with a version of the Queen hit Don’t Stop Me Now. In technical terms Mr Pepper has a superb range and has so much potential. Having discovered that young Brad is just 19, I’m confident the stage presence will become even stronger than it already is, as the nerves diminish.
Laura Glaves, looked stunning in her bejewelled dress. This solo singer has been blessed with a beautiful voice. All the ingredients are there for success but, in my view, something is missing. My own view of Laura Glaves is that there is a lack of warmth within her overall performance.
I was really looking forward to Jackson Live. Although whilst performing, Got to be Starting Something, I wondered whether the drummer was going to be able to keep up. The band proved to be nice and tight. As for the man out front, on the vocal sound-alike side, I have seen better and seen worse. The highlight of their set was a great instrumental dance break during Billie Jean.
An international addition came from singer Hercules Smith, who hails all the way from South Africa. Here we heard an incredible voice. This artiste is so talented, but the mode of presentation seems dull and rather grey.
At this point, in my view, we all needed waking up and musical jolts came in abundance with Emperors of Soul. This is an outstanding, brilliant and totally fun act. In fact, there are not enough adjectives to describe the talent and energy that these four guys brought to the stage. I just loved this multi-talented act and I for one didn’t want them to finish.
Next came Hayley Ria Christian. This singer is stunning in every aspect of the word. Ms Christian looks great and sounds just as great. Lot of fabulous stage presence from a solid act. It was a pleasure to watch and review this lady in action.
Cover band Tennyson were pretty mediocre. Their most eye-catching and talented member, in my view, was the drummer. The male lead vocalist introduced each song with a preamble, consisting of informing us that the song they were about to perform goes, “something like this”. This line always makes me cringe!
Cutting a mighty fine figure in his silver suit was Luke Sabatino, brought to us by UK Cabaret subscribers Angle Entertainments. This classy singer oozes the likeability factor and his delivery was punchy. I would like to have seen him sing something a little bit more up to date, but that’s not taking anything away from his all-round performance, which was first class.
It was back to the tributes next, with Dame Shirley Bassey being portrayed fabulously, in my view, by Carolynn May. Here we heard a top notch voice and the chosen songs are beautifully delivered. All in all, Ms May presents a whole excellent tribute package. I can see this fine artiste working on the cruise ship cabaret scene and /or the better quality hotels cabaret scene.
Looking great and full of confidence and possessing a fantastic presence was singer Kennie J. This performer provides a breath of fresh air and, in my view, he got his song choice bang on in terms of showing off huge versatility. Hugely likeable, I feel that Kennie J could just prove to be a good solid find during showcase season.
Bringing us right up to date is Justin Beiber tribute artiste Justin O’Neill. A member of the audience seated close to me reckoned that Mr O’Neill was more in tune whilst performing as Justin Beiber than Mr Beiber manages to be himself. I’d like to think there is a call for Bieber tributes, other than in family holiday parks. However I’m not sure whether this young man looks experienced enough to handle a rowdy crowd in a large holiday centre cabaret room.
Equally as up to date, ultra-slim singer L.E Goulding gave us her tribute to Ellie Goulding and was joined on stage by two lissom female dancers, who in my view needed a more dynamic look in terms of stage wear. The singer out front looks fantastic and in my view, I can’t help feeling that this singer would suit a Kylie tribute even more.
To finish off a cracking night of entertainment we were treated to the eight piece band UB4T. Seven fine musicians were joined by a very charismatic front man. I just wish the musician’s behind the Ali Campbell sound alike would have appeared to be enjoying the whole thing a little more. However, I really loved the overall sound.
This was a trying evening in many ways for Colin Jones and the backstage crew, but ultimately a successful one. Now time to get ready for the final day, when the showcase reviewing task is handed over to my colleague Johnny Tait.
Peter Chittenden of Live Business chose Kennie J & The Valli Boys
Jane Clayton of Tricks of the Trade Ltd chose Kennie J & The Valli Boys