Thursday, 17 November 2011

Fun Haus

I had bought a ticket to this some time ago, but yesterday Sir Bob mentioned he wanted to go. I told him it was sold out but that I would look for a spare ticket on Twitter. With Martin White's help I discovered that Peter couldn't go and both myself and Andy T managed to nab his spare tickets. Andy and I texted backwards and forwards for a bit and he seemed like a nice guy, even though I hadn't met him. It took a while to work out the logistics of picking up the tickets but we worked out a plan. Peter also suggested putting the money to charity which was rather nice of him, so we decided to choose SCOPE.

I met Sir Bob at a pub in Kings Cross and we headed up the extremely long Caledonian Road. Inside the Pleasance we saw the lovely Rob Sedgebeer which is always a delight! (even though he is always mean to me!) and located Andy. Tickets were swapped and we headed upstairs. Things seemed to be running late. I thought I should nip to the loo but was told that if I did I couldn't come back till the interval as things were about to start. I decided I could wait, and soon Danielle Ward took to the stage for some "speed compering" as time was short.

Danielle explained the format of the show and about the loo situation to which Sir Bob let out an "Oh fuck..." Danielle, possibly thinking it was me, gave me special dispensation to go, so Bob and I hared down the stairs and we were back within 2 minutes after meeting Thom Tuck who seemed worried in case the second act was about to start.

The first show was a sitcom written by Bridget Christie based on The Mitford Sisters (cleverly disguised as The Flapper Sisters). What a cast. We had Margaret Cabourn Smith, Sue Perkins, Peter Serafinowitz and Colin Hoult. as well as others. This was set sometime in the past, but at a non-specific time (like Downton Abbey) so the characters were unsure if it was the 30s or the 40s. After lots of talk about tinctures, which appear to turn Unity Flapper into a fat Nazi, Bridget Christie arrived as "Coughing Mrs Broadwoodwidger" which was definitely the highlight for me.

Next up was a spy comedy written by the Penny Dreadfuls where the cast were joined by Tony Gardener (who know, that guy from Lead Balloon and Fresh Meat). This was written by The Penny Dreadfuls and contains all the little word twists you would expect of them. Colin Hoult was back, as was Sue Perkins. Colin's role as the Russian was all the better for occasionally lapsing into French.

After the interval was the musical half of the evening. Colin Hoult and Margaret Cabourn Smith sang 2 or 3 songs from Psister Psycho, a musical I have never heard yet but you can download free from iTunes. It's been sitting on my phone for some time so really must get round to it this week. The scene they played was one where the lead character (a shy virgin) discovers a boy trapped in a cupboard and of course, they fall in love. If you have only seen Gutted (also free to download on iTunes) then you'll love this too.

Tony Gardener was back next singing a new song from Ward and White. He seemed nervous, but did a great job as you would expect, one song being about being an angry bitter old man, where he pretended to be offended at being cast in this role, being only in his late 40s. Margaret came on next to do a hateful duet with Ruth Bratt , a song about 2 women in love with the same man, which was a much naughtier version of "I Know Him So Well".

Martin and Tony try to fix the accordion (photo stolen from Ruth Bratt)
The show ended with a Martin and the Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra presenting a few songs from his new project "Mr Flea" about a flea circus. However ... disaster! Martin's accordion broke, and would only play one note as the button wouldn't come out! After borrowing various items from members of the audience, pens, tweezers etc, Martin retired backstage to try and fix it and Danielle took to the stage to tell us a few stories. Then, something magical happened. Danielle asked Jeremy Limb (on keyboards) if he could play "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret, which Danielle smouldered into, before being joined by Margaret, where things turned a little more raucous. Although unplanned, this may have been my highlight of the entire evening.

Martin came back, defeated, accordionless, but the show must go on, and luckily Martin found an accordion found on his keyboard. Colin Hoult, Thom Tuck were joined by Gus Brown to sings a few songs from Mr Flea. Gus played the evil flea tamer perfectly, and the show ended with The Flea National Anthem "One Nation On A Dog". I recorded a few of the Mr Flea songs at Union Chapel a few weeks ago which I will add below.

Ward & White's Fun Haus is a delight. Tickets also go fast - both nights so far have sold out - so when the date of the next one is announced, get that ticket immediately!

The Wisdom Of Animals

The Flea National Anthem

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