Reviewer: Mark Ritchie
A large Wednesday afternoon gathering was greeted by Compere Lee Lard, who was deputising for Ricky K, due to Ricky being a little under the weather. Lee is much loved by almost everyone and soon it was six-piece live band Bright Eyes who were up on stage. This is a great function/ party band attraction, with a blonde, willowy and gorgeous singer out front. In short, a great start!
Singer Jo Farrow is an outstanding vocalist in her own right and here we saw her trying her hand on the tribute market, as an Adele tribute. Miss Farrow also offers a Diva show, as well as a party dance show, which can’t be bad.
On a day in which there were meant to be no tribute artistes on stage, with the big national tribute showcase coming the following day, it was the turn of Elvis to enter the building. There are so many of these guys around right now, but this particular ‘King’ has a right royal voice to offer. Elvis- The Tribute, by Kennie J, was the man on stage and very bookable he is too.
Bosom Buddies is the name of two masculine singers with very feminine voices and frocks to match. ‘We’re two blokes who dress up like women and sing like women’, declares one of the buddies. That just about covers it. As for the comic appeal of the act, that is made clear with abundant clarity.
Singer Jamie Tinkler came next, performing his Rick Astley tribute act. There has been a recent comeback by Mr Astley and to augment the frankly obscure content of the wider Astley back catalogue, Mr Tinkler tweaks the concept slightly by marketing his act as Rick Astley Sings the 80’s. So, in order to remove any confusion, I will declare that this is in fact Jamie Tinkler Sings the 80’s and I’m not completely sure why using the name of Rick Astley has been perceived as good for the act?
Stunning singer Cinzia Linza is clearly a believer in the old maxim that the show must go on. Beneath the shimmering gown she wore, Miss Linza had broken a high heel and her gait was peculiar as a result, during the walk on. A well-pitched voice here certainly and oodles of sex appeal.
Swing singers are always in demand at weddings and functions and next up was the highly accomplished Aaron Reece. A Sinatra-esque voice here certainly and an experienced and confident looking performer, Mr Reece will surely do considerable business.
A three-girl vocal and dance act called The Cover Girls came next and the first problem, immediately apparent, was that all three sang mainly in unison, with very little in the way of a discernible harmony. All three are pencil-slim and have the look of an act who began their show business journey’s as dance-based performer’s.
Singer Michael Sharpe comes across as a jolly, holiday centre style entertainer. Alas, I write with considerable experience when I state that men who boast a certain waistline size, have to be careful how they dress on stage. The wardrobe malfunction aside, in my view, Mr Sharpe’s mode of stage presentation was somewhat at odds with the material he chose to cover.
I just adored singer Millie Brown! Here we have a natural and instinctive artiste, who makes the effort in terms of distinctive stage wear, whilst making the business of singing and stage craft look effortless. This is a Diva style entertainer, who looks and sounds terrific. I personally would pay good money to see Miss Brown anytime.
We then saw a segment from Michael Murray’s New Jersey Tones show. Here we saw the four boys on stage, complete with instruments which it was made abundantly clear, were being used as props. A recorded narration punctuated the musical contributions. Hence the feel of a full touring show was established. I’m sure the full show will be great to watch and listen to.
Singer and guitarist Jordan Hill looks like an experienced campaigner, who even managed to play a segment of Wipeout on guitar, with the instrument around the back of his neck. I wasn’t overly impressed with the mode of presentation, but even as it stands Mr Hill will work and work on the holiday centre scene.
Singer Che Chesterman is another one of the X Factor people. I just love this man’s voice and he seems to have managed a hair-cut since I saw him recently at the Curtains Up Showcase. I can only reiterate my earlier review that, in my view, all is in place here to make a successful cabaret artiste. Aside for the fact that, again in my view, Mr Chesterman needs a distinctive presentational look, to match the remarkable voice.
Enter two very tall men and two much shorter men, who are known collectively as The Boyz. This is a boy band style attraction, who approach the job I suspect with tongues firmly planted in cheeks. These four fun, party guys are sure to be the heart and soul of any party as they travel the UK, filling dance floors.
Penultimate act on this particular bill was Karen Tomlinson, who was performing her tribute to Jessie J. Known as Just Jessie, Ms Tomlinson will tick many boxes for tribute artiste bookers.
Closing out the afternoon session, on the second day was the great North East singing star Shelley Stevens. Normally seen fronting her own success band, Ms Stevens was flying solo, with backing tracks here. The voice speaks for itself and the show is a Diva style tribute. I’m certain that available dates will sell out very quickly.
Paul Winteridge from Vern Allen management, chose Aaron Reece & Che Chesterman
Beverley Ritchie- Office manager at UK Cabaret, chose The Boyz & Shelley Stevens