Lyceum Theatre Variety Nights February 2017 Review Sunday 26th February 2017

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Variety nights are a wonderful showcase format for new, emerging and established performers across a wide spectrum of performance styles, and they are always an adventure into the unknown.  There are always going to be things you love, and things just not to your own personal taste in any show with this format.


This is the second Flint & Pitch variety night at the Lyceum and as last time, the format is music and spoken word. As last time, comperes Sian Bevan and Jenny Lindsay provide a warm  and welcoming introduction to the evening and the acts, as well as seamlessly putting the whole package together on-stage.


Opening our show, and providing the main musical entertainment for the evening, emerging Glasgow based band Pronto Mama.  This band have some interesting songs in their set, and a line up that includes three keyboards, a small brass section, drums and guitars is always going to give you something a little different than the standard musical fare. Pronto Mama are experimenting with some interesting musical arrangements, and perhaps now is the time to take on board someone with the arrangement skills to fully develop that sound.  From where I was sitting at the very back of the theatre, the whole sound of the band was a bit indistinct with musical sections that should have been clearer sometimes not defining themselves, and  I think that problem was in the sound mix/sound audio set up rather than anything to do with the band.


For more information on Pronto Mama visit
http://www.prontomama.com/

 

Our first spoken word adventure came from Aidan Moffat, and sorry, but for me the on-stage use of crudities for what seems to be nothing more than shock effect just does not work…it has been done so often now that it is just old and tired…the little boys in the playground discovering rude words for the first time have moved on.  By contrast to this though, a reading of the text from Aidan’s children’s book (available now), “The Lavender Blue Dress” was charming and a pleasure to listen to, and showed clearly someone with  a talent for word usage and story telling that make him far better than having to use some of the other material.

Actress and writer Gerda Stevenson was a pleasure to listen to and watch as she performed some poetry in monologue form from her forthcoming book.  Dedicated to Scottish women who have achieved great things, but mostly gone uncredited for their works, this was a perfect example of how skilful writing can look at things from a unique perspective.  Also, of course with such a theatrical background, classic presentation.

One of the real highlights for me in this show though was discovering the cabaret talents of “The Creative Martyrs”.  The duo of Gustav and Jakob Martyr have been doing this act for a long time now, and that clearly showed in impeccable timing and presentation.  Listen to this duo though, as in the songs and sketches there is serious commentary just beneath the cabaret paint.  Classic cabaret that could have stepped right out of the classic “Cabaret” film. 


For more information visit.
https://en-gb.facebook.com/The-Creative-Martyrs-128578897375/

Rachel Sermanni was our second musical performer for this show, and as always with Rachel’s music some songs of haunting fragility in their lyrics.  Nice too to hear Rachel celebrating the birthday of Johnny Cash with a cover of his “A Thing Called Love”.  There is always something very fragile about Rachel Sermanni on stage, that is both charming and endearing and somehow reflects her music perfectly.


Find out more about Rachel at
https://rachelsermanni.net/


A little plug here too, Rachel will be performing at Summerhall on 24 March
http://www.summerhall.co.uk/2017/nehh-presents-rachel-sermanni/

 

Stepping in at the last minute (almost literally) to cover for the indisposed Don Paterson was Colin McGuire with a small snippet from his larger work “The Wake Up Call”.  A well performed sketch routine that obviously found many a common understanding  with the audience.

Our last spoken word presentation came from London based (originally from Washington DC), Adele Hampton.  Two spoken word stories here that had some interesting ideas in them, but for me, ideas let down in the presentation…Adele did admit a few times that she was nervous on stage.  Words are wonderful things, but they have a life of their own and do need a performance skill that has to be learned to bring their metre, timing and emphasis to life on a stage.


All in all, another interesting entertainment compilation from Flint & Pitch, and their next Lyceum Variety Night is on Sunday 4th June.  Performer details as they emerge will be available from
https://flintandpitch.com/

 

Review by Tom King

 

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