Valentine’s Comedy Night

Star Rating: ***
Compass Comedy
Compass Theatre
Sunday 12th February 2017
Ickenham, Middlesex

Nothing says I love you more than a pre-Valentine’s comedy night out in Ickenham … said absolutely no one except myself! Maybe that explained the unusually, overwhelmingly male audience. The place was pretty full with approximately 90% men. Maybe the ladies were saving themselves for Tuesday night. This was quite some change from the usual female dominated audiences you find at comedy shows.

It made for an entertaining night as the guys often gave as good as they got in terms of wisecracks, creating a jovial atmosphere all round between compere and audience.
Regular Compere Lewis Bryan was superb at warming up the room between acts. He was witty and excelled at getting humour from most audience members he engaged with. We had quite an interesting cross-section of audience members – tube workers, engineers, jet setting Librarians (Singapore and USA!!), accountants, local thespians and even a metallurgist – not to be confused with a meteorologist as Lewis so obviously did!

Compere Lewis Bryan

Compere Lewis Bryan

I loved it when upon realising there was one American in the audience he asked if it’s true that American’s are over emotional and Julie Holmes from Arizona, USA, shouted right back at him “No We Aren’t” in a loud, overly emotional naturally American voice. A brilliantly funny response that had the place in stitches.

Considering it was the start of Valentine’s week, curiously there seemed to be a distinct lack of love in the air. Certainly there wasn’t much that was lovey-dovey from the hard-edged, blunt speaking opening act Sarah Callaghan. She’s a local comedian from the borough of Hillingdon. She had some funny one liners in her show and admittedly some were a little old as I recall hearing them before , but they struck a chord with the audience. The Grand Canyon routine was a particularly good, original one. I think some more levity, less harshness and a slowing down in her delivery wouldn’t go amiss. The coarseness just seemed somewhat uncalled for, especially from the opening performer.

Sarah Callaghan

Sarah Callaghan

Nathan Willcock  wasn’t the night’s headliner but at around 9”6 (or something nearly as ridiculously tall) his head was almost touching the ceiling of Compass Comedy! His set alas didn’t reach the same heights as his head, but the Nat King Cole and Chris Eubank were very good “visual” gags. That’s quite a USP there and if I were him I’d develop a lot more of those and see how many gags he can get out of that set up. The Brexit material was a fine, topical idea, but until Nathan can work up some funnier routines I think that part of the show should Brexit his set for the time being.

Sam Luttit a, young man with floppy hair read a stream of one liners from his notebook. These needed more work to achieve their aim of being pithy, funny, one liners. This was only his 3rd ever gig so good on him for having a go and I’m sure he can only improve on this if he works hard at it. It takes a lot of time writing material allied to plenty of stage time delivering jokes to develop your comedy craft. I think Lewis’ accidental teasing at the changeover was uncalled for considering Sam’s obvious inexperience.

Irish woman Catherine Bohart was very funny. She was composed, polished and confident. I liked her. She chose to “out” herself early one and did some fine stuff on the topic of sexuality. What made it even more interesting and personal was that it was set against the personal backdrop of her having a Deacon for a father! She even talked about – and this surely has to be a first for a comedy gig – transubstantiation – which I’m sure you of course well know is “the change of substance by which the bread and the wine offered in the sacrifice of the sacrament of the Eucharist during the Mass, become, in reality, the body and blood of Jesus Christ …!”  Jokes as well as religious education at Compass Comedy! Amen to that. It was a Sunday after all.

Headliner Jay Sodagar was a fine closing act. In what was a mix of newer and experienced comedians he shone out as quite a seasoned, well-travelled comedian. He played on some of the stereotypes surrounding his Asian ethnicity to good effect and was well received by the audience.

It’s always nice to come across new talent interspersed with more more experienced acts too.

Review © Tiemo Talk of the Town

Lewis Bryan photograph courtesy of Julie Holmes

The next show in the current season is on Sunday 12th March 2017, 8pm. £5 entry. Details and on-line booking

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Black-ish is the Nouveau Black

Black-ish
TV rating: *****
ABC & E4
Writer & Executive Producer – Kenya Barris
Black-ish is an ABC Television Production

Black-ish is a sitcom based on the upper middle class African-American Johnson family who live in ‘the burbs’. The sit-coms stars Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson (Anthony Anderson) who has a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids and a colonial home in the ‘burbs.

Black-ish is an original, absolutely brilliant, hilarious and constantly thought provoking sit-com. What sets it apart and lifts it above most other sit-com’s of this genre is its deliberate issues focused story lines. Though I’m a relatively recent convert to the show, so far I’ve already watched a number of superb episodes covering a vast array of serious topics, from church, drugs, men’s health, fatherhood, the right to bear arms (and I mean guns, not the right to wear sleeveless shirts – LoL), the N word and what it is to be Black and middle-class. The latter is the real essence of the show  and where the show gets it’s ‘Black-ish’ title from.

The Johnson’s originate from the hood, but now find themselves living in middle class America, with middle class jobs (Mum is a Hospital Doctor, Dad Dre is a top executive) and with that comes a certain tension between life-long held opinions and their current middle class status. Has success come at the cost of “too much assimilation for this black family?” With a little help from his dad (Laurence Fishburne), Dre is eager to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family that honours their past while embracing the future. This tension underpins most episodes.

The show covers these heavyweight topics in sufficient depth, without losing sight of the fact it’s basically a light entertainment sit-com and with that, the laughs comes thick and fast without in any way diminishing the importance of the topical subject matter. Quite the opposite in fact, for the use of humour actually enhances the issues by shining a spotlight on them under the light touch veil of comedic entertainment.

Black-ish

This show is such a joy to watch, not only for those reasons, but because the family is simply just very nice and loveable, as well as intelligent and caring towards one another. They all seem to generally get along and are seen to be respectful to one another, not just children to parents or between the parents, but their’s respect between the siblings and from the parents to their children, even when they disagree with one another.

It’s so refreshing and uplifting to see parents in such a show treating their children like mature children. You can see they’re being prepared for adulthood and to make their own decisions in life. Dre and Rainbow don’t try to establish their parental authority by force, but through reasoning with their children and talking respectfully to them. As a result they are not treated as children to be patronised and talked down to.

The children are played by Yara Shahidi as Zoey, Marcus Scribner as Andre Jr., Miles Brown as Jack and Marsai Martin as Diane. Laurence Fishburne plays Dre’s father. Ruby Johnson is played by the very familiar face of Jennifer Lewis, star of over 300 TV shows and films. She is a ball of fire, livening up scenes she appears in with her witty repartee especially with Rainbow, with whom there is little love lost!

We also see their extended family – Dre’s mum and dad offering additional support. They visit regularly or stay over, which all helps with running a tidy, organised family home and it’s great to see them being a part of the family and interacting on a daily, regular basis with their grand children.

Black-ish is just like its cast and family. It’s smart, sassy, clever and very, very funny.

The show’s popularity was recognised earlier this month, when on 8th January 2017, Tracee Ellis Ross (daughter of Diana Ross) won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Comedy. The first African-American to do  so for 35 years since Debbie Allen in Fame (1982). black-ish also received nominations in other major categories including Best Actor in a TV Comedy or Musical and Best Television Series – Comedy.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

You can catch Black-ish on ABC in America and via E4 in the UK.

No unauthorised publication or reproduction of any part of this review is permitted without the permission of Tiemo Talk of the Town.

Thank you for reading our review. We hope you enjoyed it and that if you did, will post a comment and/or share it with others who have the same interest in this topic and may also appreciate the chance to read it and comment.

Links:

  1. Are We Entering a Brave New World That’s Black and British? – 22nd January 2017
  2. Black and British – The entire season available on iplayer for a limited period of time.
  3. Sunny D – Episodes 1-4 , further information and clips – November 2016
  4. All About the Mckenzies ITV2 pilot – Tiemo review – 21 November 2016
  5. Are You Being Heard? Representing Britain on TV – Video featuring Sir Lenny Henry and Michael Peters – Part of the Future for Public Service Television Review – 22nd March 2016
  6. No Laughing Matter – Black Stand Up Comedy article – Michael Peters – 23rd November 2015

If you wish to receive regular updates as soon as new Blogs are posted or join our mailing list please complete the form below.

Posted in Comedy Reviews, Comedy Reviews 2017, TV | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Lolly Adefope Review – Soho Theatre

Lolly Adefope
Star rating: ****
Soho Downstairs, Soho Theatre
London W1
Review: Monday 16th January 2017

Next Show Wednesday 1st March 2017, 9.30p.m Booking and further information
£12 (£10)

If Lolly Adefope suffers from a split personality crisis that would not be a surprise. Nor happily would it be a bad thing for this fine, young comedian as character comedy is what she does and she is comfortable going in and out of so many different characters.

During this sold out show at the lovely intimate Soho Theatre (Downstairs) Lolly took the audience through a wide range of entertaining characters. The singing call centre worker was especially good, with the added bonus that attendees got to hear Lolly’s exquisitely beautiful voice. There was more from that singing voice later in the hour long show. It sounded so good at times I wondered if I was hearing a backing tape! This girl can sing and if the comedy ever dries up, we won’t have heard the last of her on stage that’s for sure.

Lolly Adefope

Lolly Adefope

The fine comedy was interspersed with a few good quizzes thrown in for laughs. This reviewer even partook and eventually won the ‘Last Man Standing’ competition which was good fun .I’m still waiting for my prize, so if you’re reading this Lolly Adefope, do the right thing LoL!

An occasional running theme humorously referenced the fact she has not acknowledged her racial heritage and issues of race in her previous shows. Why should she? Just because she’s African-British there is no rule saying she’s got to. Her job first and foremost is to make people laugh, which she did with aplomb. I found Lolly to be a wonderfully refreshing new talent on the comedy scene. There aren’t too many doing multi-character comedy and the constant laughter reverberating around showed that many found her a real joy to behold. Lolly Adefope is for sure one to watch out for and I for one can envisage a bright future ahead for her.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

Due to popular demand Lolly Adefope is back at the Soho Theatre on 1st March 2017 in Lolly Adefope: Lolly 2 Extra Show.

No unauthorised publication or reproduction of any part of this article is permitted without the permission of Tiemo Talk of the Town.

Thank you for reading our review. We hope you enjoyed it and that if you did, will post a comment and/or share it with others who have the same interest in this topic and may also appreciate the chance to read it and comment.

If you wish to receive regular updates as soon as new Blogs are posted or join our mailing list please complete the form below.

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Are We Entering a Brave New World That’s Black and British?

  • Black & British
  • TV Rating: ***** 
  • November – December 2016
  • Channels: BBC2, BBC3 & BBC-1Xtra

A Brave New TV World

For so long, decades, many people have complained about the scarcity of Black programming on television. Many have forlornly pined for the repeat of ‘The Real McCoy’. That show ended an era ago back in 1996.  Television and society has moved on and arguably we’re entering a brave new world of television that’s that’s going to be more inclusive, more Black and British. Fans can enjoy old clips on You Tube, but they need to stop talking about old, hit shows and instead focus on the new programmes being broadcast, be that on TV or YouTube. The stunning success of the critically acclaimed Black and British season from the BBC offered a taste of what can be delivered when a major TV station puts its heart into a dedicated focus on understanding and valuing diversity.

I found the season to be an absolute joy, as it offered hours and hours, of wonderfully diverse, educational and entertaining programming across the BBC’s television and radio stations. There was something for everyone.

We had contemporary documentaries like ‘Black and British’ featuring a galaxy of highly successful Black Britons across a span of industries – comedy, fashion, law, politics, sport and TV, including Sir Trevor McDonald, Les Ferdinand, Gina Yashere, Ozwald Boateng, Baroness Patricia Scotland QC and Beverley Knight. I watched this feeling so proud to hear the stories of so many talented, high achieving, hugely regarded individuals, many of whom I could identify with in the sense we had similar, Black and British upbringings. That was the thread linking them and I’m sure most viewers of African-Caribbean heritage. It was uplifting to hear their stories and their journeys. It was also a leveller to hear how despite their success and fame, they could still be brought back down to earth and reminded of their colour by everyday racist incidences.

David Harewood

David Harewood

David Harewood’s, ‘Will Britain Ever Have A Black Prime Minister?’ offered a fascinating, hard-hitting but clear statistical analysis of getting to the top professions; That was a real highlight as its analysis, courtesy of Faiza Shaheen and the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) showed just how difficult it will be for a Black Briton ever to become PM. I actually don’t think it’s impossible given the right circumstances. For instance, if Chukka Umunna hadn’t quite the Labour leadership race in 2015 he could have posed a far greater challenge to David Cameron during the 2015 general election and could quite feasibly have been PM now and we’d not be looking for the door marked Brexit, but that’s another story and one for another Blog altogether!

I loved ‘Back In Time For Brixton’ which followed a family as they are whisked through the decades in south London, from Windrush in 1948 to today. We saw through this modern day family re-enacting life through the decades as an immigrant family, just how life was for African-Caribbean’s arriving and settling in London.

David Olusoga

David Olusoga

Going much further back, there were historical documentaries, most notably, ‘Black and British: A Forgotten History’ by Historian David Olusoga. This highly watchable, 4 part series was a revelation in so many ways; for instance, discovering that the African-Caribbean presence in Britain dates back to Roman times and in the far Northern and South Eastern parts of these Islands.

On a lighter note there was comedy from rising star Dane Baptiste. ‘Sunny D’ is a brilliantly funny sit-com. If nurtured well, the BBC have a long term hit on their hands.

The role of Caribbean nurses was celebrated in ‘Black Nurses: The Women Who Saved the NHS’ and music was covered in the excellent ‘Story of Soul II Soul’ told by Jazzie B, with DJ Trevor Nelson. The latter was one of a number of musical programmes and debates featured on BBC TV and radio stations like Radio 1Xtra.

The Black and British season was produced in collaboration with a range of partners: the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, The National Archives, Black Cultural Archives and the British Film Institute (BFI). All also participated in the BBC’s Black British Hero social media campaign as well as running their own complementary campaigns.

The Future

Sir Lenny Henry, has campaigned heavily for the past few years for greater diversity on TV. He must be applauded for this and given a good deal of credit, as without his passionate and goal focused campaigning, I suspect that this Black and British series might never have got made.

I celebrate and thank the BBC wholeheartedly for this too as ‘Black and British’ is without a doubt the biggest, most comprehensive series of original Black TV programming in the entire history of British television history.

Sir Lenny Henry

Sir Lenny Henry

I hope it won’t be seen in years to come as historical blip, but instead as the rocket fuel that will launch many other Black programmes onto our TV screens, with many more original commissions and programmes of the highest quality this year and for years to come.

For this to come to pass is obviously down to the TV commissioners at the BBC and other stations, but that doesn’t mean the viewer at home can’t influence what happens next. Whilst the likes of Sir Lenny Henry and Idris Elba can get their voices heard by the powers that be and get their own programmes and films to screen more easily than many others, I see this as a collaborative team effort from them, the black community and in fact all viewers of whatever culture who want to watch more diverse programming on TV.

The ordinary viewer can assist their efforts in 4 simple ways:

  1. By simply watching these and other Black programmes when they are broadcast. As we know, TV is all about the ratings and all must be done to achieve the best possible ratings. Whilst I wouldn’t expect this genre of programming to challenge the likes of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘The X Factor’ in the battle for ratings, they should at least mirror a decent percentage based upon the African-Caribbean population of Britain.
  1. Spread the word about them. Often they are not advertised that widely even on the channels broadcasting them! So the ordinary viewer and those involved in the productions, on and off screen, should be encouraged to do all they can to self-promote their own shows. In this day of free email, texting, social media such as FaceBook and Twitter, it really isn’t that difficult, yet the pay off could be huge and out of all proportion to the effort required.
  1. Most important. Viewers must provide feedback directly to the TV stations. They are not reading your social media posts or listening in on viewer water cooler conversations, so a few minutes spent completing their on-line feedback forms could be worth its weight in gold. We all like to receive positive feedback and praise after all and TV stations are no different. This, or the lack of it, could be the difference between a show getting re-commissioned or not. BBC Feedback  ITV Feedback
  1.  Provide comments and feedback on Tiemo Talk of the Town and other media reviews of these shows. That way in one or more central places, readers can follow the trail of interest in a show, which will be visible to all, including the TV commissioners. This could be similar or more in-depth comments that viewers have already provided to the TV stations, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel with new feedback.

This isn’t just about the BBC either. ITV have run a series of 4 pilot shows in the run up to broadcasting the MOBO Awards of 2015 and 2016. So far out of those 8 programmes, not one has been re-commissioned. That needs to change otherwise the pilot episodes will develop a reputation for just being that and will never amount to anything. Perhaps the solutions offered up here were not followed.

Tiemo Talk of the Town demonstrated in its own small way the power of making the viewer voice heard last December by simply making the BBC aware, via Twitter, that it’s 4th and final episode of ‘Sunny D’ wasn’t actually available for download via TV although it appeared to be available via television. The BBC immediately looked into this and within 48 hours it was available to view.

I don’t know about ‘Orange being the New Black’ or what on earth ‘Black is the new Black’ means, but I do know that the power to ensure the BBC’s Black and British season is not just a one hit wonder, to a degree lies in the hands of the viewer. I hope this article in some ways helps ensure that viewers can provide the stimulus for more programming that entertains, educates and makes Black Britons feel proud and see their story as a vital part of a thriving and vibrant British TV landscape.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

Links:

  1. Black and British – The entire season available on iplayer for a limited period of time.
  2. Sunny D – Episodes 1-4 , further information and clips – November 2016
  3. All About the Mckenzies ITV2 pilot – Tiemo review – 21 November 2016
  4. Dropperz the Pilot – review – 21st November 2016.
  5. Are You Being Heard? Representing Britain on TV – Video featuring Sir Lenny Henry and Michael Peters – Part of the Future for Public Service Television Review – 22nd March 2016
  6. Exclusive reviews of ITV2’s four pre-MOBO 2015 Black and Minority Ethnic shows.
  7. No Laughing Matter – Black Stand Up Comedy article – Michael Peters – 23rd November 2015
  8. Why Black TV Failed to Progress Beyond the Real McCoy – article – 30 December 2013

 

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Collateral Beauty: Review

Film Rating: 12A ****
Director: David Frankel
Writer: Allan Loeb
UK Release: Boxing Day 2016

Review date: 27th December 2016

Death will visit all of us at some point in time. At what is meant to be an uplifting, joyous time of Christmas festivity, many of us have also been mourning the death of a number of much loved and revered people. Curiously these are people we didn’t personally know. I speak of course of recently deceased world renowned celebrities George Michael and Carrie Fisher, plus the many other celebrities who have passed away this Christmas and consistently throughout 2016.

Collateral Beauty is a timely reminder of the fragility of life as we reflect upon our own lives and those of the many dearly departed stars  in 2016.

Though their deaths have been untimely and mostly unexpected, they happen to tie in with the theme of Will Smith’s latest film, ‘Collateral Beauty’,  made by New Line Cinema. It mainly focuses on one man’s grief, Howard, a New York advertising boss played by Will Smith, represented by a period of mourning that leads him to retreat from life. Written by Allan Loeb and directed by David Frankel, the film revolves around three central themes of love, time and death and how they become interwoven threads that impact on the grieving process  and Howard’s marriage and business relationships.

This relatively simple premise has resulted in a beautiful, touching movie based in New York. This is in no small measure down to some fine performances from a galaxy of familiar faces including Dame Helen Mirren, Keira Knightly, Kate Winslet, Naomie Harris and Edward Norton. Dame Helen Mirren demonstrated compassion and wisdom in her scenes with Will Smith, whilst Naomie Harris was exemplary as a cool, calm, professional Therapist. The awe inspiring and famous New York skyline with its bustling streets and traffic provided a suitable backdrop to the drama. The fast paced, big city lifestyle contrasted with and illuminated the ponderous stagnation of Will Smith’s character.

collateralbeauty1

As we observe Howard’s withdrawal from life, witness his refusal to make any decisions at work, such as buying and selling shares or doing deals, which, when you’re company CEO is a little bit of a problem! His colleagues and friends are forced to try and help him make decisions for his own benefit and their’s too. Tense meetings between them result in an unusual and somewhat unorthodox approach being adopted. I quite liked their novel approach and was hooked wondering whether or not it will work.

Concurrently Howard is also trying to help himself and decides to seek answers from the wider universe by writing letters to ‘Love, Time and Death’. Will Smith is highly convincing in his role. His mannerisms, single mindedness and hard-hearted approach clearly portray a man in no mood to have his mind changed on anything. For that to happen it is going to take some considerable effort.

Watching how this unfolds is a joy, thought provoking and at times very amusing. The devices by which the themes are brought to life require a little suspension of disbelief, but to zone in on that would be missing the point.

 

At an hour 40 minutes it was overly long. A good twenty minutes or so could have been cut without losing any of the film’s impact and meaning.

Ignore the many negative reviews out so far. I think they’ve missed the point, particularly if you consider its release date. Its release at Christmas is deliberate in my opinion as there are echos of Charles Dickens’  famous ‘A Christmas Carol’ novella in which Scrooge is confronted by the ghosts of the past, the present and the future.

Collateral Beauty is a good, grown up, serious movie on grief that is emotionally moving without being schmaltzy or over dramatised. It works not just because of its great cast, acting and New York setting, but because it subtly highlights the domino effect tragedy can have upon one’s life and how that grief that can result in stagnation that hurts not just the person grieving, but negatively affects others around them too.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

Feel free to let us know what you think of the film by posting your comments here.

Links:

  1. A Christmas Carol review: Scrooge – The Comics Edition – 27th December 2013
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Sunny Side up for Dane McKenzie with Sunny D

  • TV Rating: *****
  • BBC 3 and i-player
  • November 2016
  • BBC

The second series of Sunny D starring Dane Baptiste featured as part of the Black and British season on BBC3 which commenced last month. The story line is essentially about 29 year old Dane McKenzie (Dane Baptiste) going through “the angst of the quarter-life crisis (didn’t realise that was a thing), family, love and loss.” This is reflected in his feeling of being trapped living with his parents and twin sister Kadean (Gbemisola Ikumelo) with whom he shares a very fractious relationship. Over four 20 minute episodes the viewer watches hilarious scenes from a fraught sibling rivalry. In real life Dane does have a twin sister. How much this is based on their relationship or is just imagined only they and their family will know. Nonetheless it provides for great drama, tension and plenty of belly laughs.

Dane Baptiste’s live stage performances portray  a very deadpan sense of humour, which is suitably reflected in this show. His occasional, left of centre sudden burst into song and video replicating great dance tracks and video from the 80’ and 90’s is pure joy and a real blast, all the moreso for being a million miles away from what knows of Dane as a stand up comedian.

Sunny D

Sunny D

 

Another key relationship is with his girlfriend Nicola (Sasha Frost). Or is she more than just a girlfriend? Though not really the main focus of the sitcom, the girlfriend vs fiancé dilemma was left somewhat hanging during episodes 2 & 3.

There were some unexpected and welcome cameos from Slim as Nicola’s errant father and Don Warrington was superb as Dane’s father. It was great to see Angie Le Mar and Rudi Lickwood featured, though their acting and comedic skills didn’t get much of a look in during their brief appearances in episode 1. Featuring these groundbreaking comedians in the show, broadcast during the Black and British season, in a way the BBC’s alternative ‘Black History Month’,  was inspired casting, as it reminded the viewer of some of the stalwarts of the Black comedy scene over the last 20 or so years, upon whose shoulders Dane stands.

The show opened in a TV history theme with the very start of episode 1 mirroring the familiar and much loved opening credits for the Cosby Show. Perhaps Sunny D was making a point that the wholesome family image being sold to us was unrealistic, especially in the light of the lurid allegations that have surfaced against Bill Cosby in recent years. I sense Baptiste was emphasising that his show was going to offer something a lot more down to earth and realistic. After so long without a regular Black sitcom on mainstream TV it would be terrific if this show developed into a long running, quality sitcom. It’s long overdue that’s for sure and I think the story and the characterisation are easily identifiable and watchable. The fact that the cast are predominantly Black does not of itself make it a niche ‘black comedy’ show. It has more in common with the huge, mainstream appeal of ‘The Cosby Show,’ ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ or many British sitcoms for that matter than any culturally niche shows that may exist elsewhere on the internet or TV schedules.

The scenes in episode 1,also felt like an acknowledgement of the Black family unit, with Dane drinking and discussing life with the older men and all the women gathered together in the kitchen baking and chatting away. This is something we don’t see too much of in every day TV drama. What lifted it above the mundane was the fact Dane couldn’t handle his rum and drunkenly went on to deliver a speech and make a statement within that he hadn’t really planned to make, which went on to have repercussions he could have done without in the following episodes!

I loved the scenes with Dane’s boss Kerry, assertively and very convincingly played by comedian Kathryn Ryan. In what some might see as an expression of white supremacy mixed with more than mere attraction to Dane, she was hilarious in her portrayal of the dominating boss consumed by sexual desire. It brought back vivid memories. No, not my own (perish the thought) but of Demi Moore hitting on Michael Douglas in the hit 1994 movie ‘Disclosure’ surely one of the most memorable gender reversal scenes in Hollywood history, as the female boss, Demi Moore, sexually harasses a reluctant Michael (real life sex addict) Douglas.

Episode 3 ended on an Eastenders style cliff hanger involving Kadean. I’m sure many viewers will look forward to seeing what happens in the 4th episode.

McKenzie is the new Mckenzie

McKenzie sitcoms are getting likes buses. In a fascinating co-incidence it was out in the same month that ‘All About the McKenzies’ (AATM) returned to ITV2 for a ‘pilot episode’ despite it having had 3 series out, including one on London Live in 2015! Like buses, you wait for one series about the Mckenzie’s then two come along at once! Whilst the AATM series were pretty good, ironically the “latest” pilot was very disappointing, as were many of the other “comedy” shows ITV2 produced as part of its pre-MOBO’s programming this year and last year. Sunny D and the BBC has shown the way with this series.

Sunny D is an undoubted smash hit. It is an extremely funny, very well written, high energy sitcom of the highest quality. Commenting last December 2015 after getting the news that the show was being commissioned, Dane said: “I’m incredibly happy that Sunny D has been commissioned! It represents the possibility of the mainstream opening the comedy landscape to a new perspective and the resurrection of the Black British sitcom. I grew up watching sitcoms on the BBC, so to have them invest in my own project is an opportunity that I relish and am grateful for.”

Dane is right and one can only hope that this show will be re-commissioned and will open up the door to more opportunities for him and other Black comedians with the talent that deserves an opportunity of being seen by a mainstream TV audience.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

Links:

  1. Sunny D – Episodes 1-4 and further information and clips.
  2. Black and British – The entire season available on iplayer for a limited period of time.
  3. All About the Mckenzies ITV2 pilot episode on itv-player  – Available to watch until 30th November 2016.
  4. Dropperz the Pilot – review – 21st November 2016.
  5. Exclusive reviews of ITV2’s four pre-MOBO 2015 Black and Minority Ethnic shows.
Posted in Comedy Reviews, Comedy Reviews 2016, TV | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Dropperz the Pilot – TV Review

TV Rating: **
2 November 2016
ITV2

Dropperz was one of four pre-MOBO 2016 pilot shows from ITV2 showcasing Black and Minority Ethnic talent. Dropperz, a British grime group are given a day alone in the plush surroundings of their manager Dani’s beautiful home to record a music video. It has to be a big hit to save their careers. Will they pull it off?

This is created as a ‘mockumentary’ based on a behind the scenes look at a band recording a music video. The concept was interesting but didn’t work largely due to a weak script, the viewer knowing nothing much about the characters or their back story.

The group comprised  Guz Khan, Adam Deacon and Kiell Smith-Bynoe. Deacon and Khan were decent, fairly interesting characters. I didn’t warm much too Smith-Bynoe and overall the story didn’t tug at the emotions in any way, so it was difficult to care too much whether they succeeded or not in their musical adventure.

Dropperz

Dropperz

Overall it was just short on laughs and dramatic interest. It’s a shame as it was made by the same Purple Geko team behind ‘Venus v Mars’ which started as a highly successful web series before being picked up and developed by Sky Living last year.

On a more positive note, the groupie Kelly, played by Letitia Hector of ‘Venus v Mars’ fame, added some humour to proceedings with her character’s somewhat vacuous,self taking persona. She lacked the musical talent that could possibly merit her inclusion on the record or video but that didn’t stop her enjoying herself with the band.

The show didn’t have much of a profile and I found the promotion of it, what little of it there seemed to be, to be very poor from all concerned including ITV. I’m afraid I see reality mirroring art and I think Dropperz will be dropped after this pilot.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

Links:

  1. Watch Dropperz on itv-player. Available until 1 December 2016
  2. All About the McKenzies 2016 pilot review – 21 November 2016
  3. Exclusive reviews of ITV2’s four pre-MOBO 2015 Black and Minority Ethnic shows
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