Star rating: ****
The Heritage Centre
Saturday 27th December 2014
Compere for the night John Simmit, facilitated proceedings with expert aplomb, warming up an audience who needed lots of heat on a bitterly cold night in the West Midlands. In an effort to get the locals on side he made reference to some of Wolverhampton’s famous alumni such as Beverly Knight, Jakki Graham, Tessa Sanderson and Denice Lewis. When he appeared to struggle to come up with more names, the audience helpfully shouted out the names of Liam Payne from One Direction and Slade. John seemed particularly pleased that the town had a “current” major star to boast of in Liam.
John got everybody singing along to a few Christmas tunes which was a fun, topical thing to do for a Christmas show. The Heritage Centre was especially apt as the evening turned out to be a celebration of West Indian cultural heritage – specifically with respect to the Lovers Rock musical genre that originated and developed in Britain and was exported world wide, including to Japan of all places! Many of the comedians and singers alike gave a nod to this music directly in their performances – musically, jokes wise or by slow dancing – even if only with a microphone for a dance partner!
Thanyia Moore, introduced by John Simmit as the award winning Thanyia Moore (Best Female Newcomer – Black Comedy Awards 2013) demonstrated why she won that title with a funny, at times acerbic and crude performance. Covering the joys and pain of singledom, relationships and inter-racial dating I found her amusing. She seemed to go down quite well with the attendees, though she probably did lose some of them with her below the belt (literally) material. There are certain expectations audiences have of comediennes and overt crudeness, which may work well at an all female hen night type show, does not work so well at a mixed gender mainstream show.
I don’t think there are too many comediennes who can pull that off as it takes a certain amount of chutzpah, stage presence and a larger than life personality, something that the likes of Ruby Wax and the late, great Joan Rivers could achieve with aplomb, without losing any of their femininity.
Being the first comedian on for a relatively cold audience was tough and Thanyia needed to work hard to win over the audience. There was too liberal a use of the F word, a word none of the other performers used quite so liberally. Thanyia’s a good comedian with plenty of good fine jokes and ad libs well, but needs to work on her stage craft and likeability factor if she wants to win over new audiences unfamiliar with her style and personality.
Roger Dee delivered a fine set that was very well received. I like the material re his unusual mixed heritage combination (Scottish-Ghanian), men brazenly chatting up his wife right in front of him and dangerous Jamaican drivers. There was some good topical jokes about terrorism and dancing mixed in for good measure too.
I must also commend him on his big weight loss. The last time I saw him perform was in August 2013 at the Comedy Fight Night show and he’s clearly lost a few stones since then. He looked a new man and that was great to see.
Glenda went down a storm with the Wulfrunian crowd. She kicked off by dancing and joking to a medley of lovers rock songs and tales of dark dancehalls back in the day. The trip down memory lane, musically and club wise, worked well for the mature audience at this show.
She then moved on to more familiar stories of being the long-time, long-suffering wife; the sex life of an older woman, her children and youths in general – their clothes and youth speak.
She delivered an extended 40 minute set which was superb and frankly she could have closed the show with no complaints. She finished at the quite late hour of 23.25p.m.
However, there was more, in the shape of the other slim performer of the night, none other than Slim, 4 time winner of ‘Best Male Comedian’ at the Black Comedy Awards and the reigning champion following the last awards in December 2013.
Slim took things up a notch with topical japes about Christmas, presents, the cost of having children and taking them on expensive foreign holidays, putting on private parties for his daughters and the foolish and costly promises he made to them if they do well in their exams!
He touched on the need to discipline his children where necessary. Not something he has to do a lot, but if need be he will as he strongly believes in standards and strong disciplinarian standards. This he demonstrated to great comedic effect, whilst still making his serious point.
Slim celebrates 20 years in the comedy business this year and by way of showcasing that experience and durability he delivered an extended 50 minute set and showed Wolverhampton exactly why he is seen as the people’s champion and has been a consistently funny, entertaining and award winning comedian. The material was all there, the jokes, audience interaction and high energy performance that took no prisoners.
Briana Campbell, 14, from Wolverhampton sang a couple of beautiful songs. She looked a few years older than her 14 years and sang as if she was too. I was really impressed by her performance and look forward to seeing her sing again.
Lovers rock singer Sister Aisha, also from Wolverhampton, sang some lovers rock numbers that were well received by her hometown audience. She featured with her fellow performers, comedians, Glenda Jaxson and John Simmit in the ‘The Story of Lovers Rock’ released in 2011.
The Story of Lovers Rock trailer
Sister Aisha – That’s how heartaches are made
This was a superb show, but a little over long thanks to extended sets from Glenda Jaxson and Slim resulting in a 12.30a.m. finish.
©Tiemo Talk of the Town
Slim celebrates 20 years in the comedy business this year and will be performing at Hackney Empire on Saturday 7th February 2015.
Sister Aisha – Biography