A Wha Me a Go Win Christmas Cracker
Star rating: **
Saturday 20th December 2014
Geestor Productions end of year Christmas cabaret show took place at it’s traditional venue, the Camden Centre, in the heart of Kings Cross. Starring the likes of compere’s Eddie Nestor and Robbie Gee, with performances from singer Vivian “sugar love” Jones and Comedienne Gina Yashere, the ‘Christmas Cracker’ cabaret show promised much but sadly failed to deliver much in the way of cracking excitement and top entertainment. Sadly it felt more like the empty feeling you have when you pull a cracker and lose.
The core purpose of the show was fantastic as the event sought to raise as much money and awareness as it could for four charities as part of the ‘Silimanjaro challenge’ at which David McQueen, Eddie Nestor, Lisa Nestor, Robbie Gee and Sarah Moore intend to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in July 2015.
Silimanjaro will be organising a series of fun events in the lead up to the climb. The 4 selected charities are the Afro-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT), McMillan Cancer, Rudolf Walker Foundation and Urban Synergy. I shall reveal more about these charities and how much was raised at the end of this review.
The show was compered by the talented and experienced comedy duo stalwarts Eddie Nestor and Robbie Gee, which augured well. The main focus for them on stage was the game shows but I found the whole format came across as somewhat tired and dated. Let’s get 5 plucky volunteers on stage desperate to win a massive flat screen TV and humiliate them in the process by getting them to hula-hoop to music in front of a packed audience of 500+ people. Nice. Not. Aside from the young student, I’m sure most on stage haven’t spun a hula-hoop for over 20 years so off course they hadn’t the ability to successfully do so. I found the whole game show element dragged on for far too long, had far too little audience participation about it and whether intentional or not, appeared to be more about humiliation than entertainment.
There was even confusion when they called out winning raffle numbers. This was clear when people went up to collect their prizes only to return empty handed.
Vivan “sugar love” Jones
Vivian “sugar love” Jones opened proceedings, but I found his performance pretty lacklustre. It would have been more fitting to have him on during the dance section of the night as some of his slower numbers lent themselves more to a dance than a viewing performance.
It was great to see award winning comedienne Gina Yashere (winner of the Black Comedy Award 2013 for Best Comedienne) supporting this great cause, having flown over from America to make a rare UK appearance.
Gina performed a 20 minute comedy set. However, by her standards, she did seem to be just going through the motions and much of her material was old material she’d been doing since at least 2013 – talking about how good the NHS is compared to the high cost of hospital treatment in the USA, being Nigerian and her health in general. I’m not even sure it’s accurate to boast about the NHS nowadays with reports it’s currently at crisis point at 9 NHS Hospitals and doubtless many others yet to be reported in the media.
There was little new or topical about her set which is a shame since she so infrequently performs in London. It would have been interesting, for instance, to get her thoughts on the police killings of innocent black men in Ferguson and Missouri for instance or her thoughts on President Obama. Something topical and relevant. Whether there’s humour to be found in that I don’t know but if you’re going to bring new life experiences to the stage, these are what a British audience would have liked to have heard.
I congratulate the organisers on a sold out, over sold out show. However, I have to say that overselling a show to the extent that quite a few people are having to stand up for the whole show or share seats was unacceptable. Surely the promoter should either stick to the capacity or bring in extra seating to meet the expected turnout. It’s not on to be charging people for a seated, ticketed event and then expect them to stand for hours watching a show.
Intervals were over long – at 40mins for the first “20 minute” interval is ridiculously long.
After the interval I could have sworn Wayne “Dibbi” Rollins had turned up, but no, it was none other than Robbie Gee in drag. Frankly he looked ridiculous. After initial shock and laughter died down he didn’t even really play it for laughs and just carried on as if it was normal. I’m not impressed by this men in drag theme that’s going on in entertainment in the slightest. We’ve had the BBC’s ‘The boy in a dress’* shown twice over Christmas, Mrs Brown, Eddie Murphy in Norbit, Tyler Perry in many of his movies and the late Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire.
It’s one thing playing the woman for big Hollywood bucks, but another thing doing it on stage. It’s very pantomime, very silly and just not my cup of tea. There’d perhaps be a point to it if Robbie was being funny but he wasn’t. He was if anything being downright tasteless and rude with his hints and tasteless innuendo’s re Eddie Nestor’s wife. I’m sure he was just jesting but it felt awkward and overly harsh.
There was no overall flow to the show. It was trying to be too many things to too many people – a cabaret, a game show, a concert, a comedy show, a raffle, pantomime, a dance and a fundraiser. It was all too much and much of it wasn’t really entertaining, which presumably was the aim of the show. Very disappointing.
What was far from disappointing though and quite tremendous was the money raised for the four charities, which when is all said and done is the most important thing. I am pleased to report that £1,105 was raised at this event. Congratulations to the organisers, promoters, sponsors, all who bought show tickets, raffle tickets and donated prizes for the cause. Look out for further fundraising and awareness raising events over the next 7 months in the build up to the brave and intrepid climbing of Mount Kilimanjaro. All are to be saluted for their courage and determination in signing up for this mountain climb.
©Tiemo Talk of the Town
R.I.P. Tony Lambert – Great friend and colleague of Tiemo
Donations to the cause can be made on-line here
After recovering from Cancer BBC broadcaster, actor & comedian Eddie Nestor decided to work his way through his bucket list and enlisted the help of his best mate, wife, manager & his fitness instructor with whom he is going to undertake the climb of a lifetime – Kilimanjaro in July 2015.
#Silimanjaro will be organising a series of fun events in the lead up to the climb in order to maximise funds raised and to raise awareness about the 4 selected charities. Afro-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT), McMillan Cancer Trust, Rudolf Walker Foundation and Urban Synergy.
#Silimanjaro kicked off their fundraising campaign at Soul Village 2014 where over £406 was raised when Robbie Gee undertook the ice bucket challenge and £50 was donated by Sharkey DJ.
Silimanjoro – Hackney Empire, 21st June 2015
* Does BBC’s Boy in The Dress drama signal the liberation or the emasculation of boys? By Glen Poole – Inside-Man article – 28.12.14
African-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust- ACLT
McMillan Cancer Trust – McMillan
Rudolf Walker Foundation – Rudolf Walker
Urban Synergy – Urban Synergy