On Friday night I had the privilege of playing at Ward and White’s Karaoke Circus – proprietors Ms Danielle Ward and Mr Martin White.
The concept is beautifully simple – get together a live band, the bones of an orchestra, some comedians, some suitably drunk and/or shameless members of the public and get them to perform live karaoke.
While the concept may be simple, the execution is not. Songs start in the wrong key, the brass section are caught napping, the singers forget to come in, and I miss most of my cues due to an inability to accurately count 27 bars of rest. In my defence, I only have ten fingers. And a short attention span.
But that all somehow makes it even better. It was a bloody brilliant night, and even though I don’t think the harp could be heard further than a 5 ft radius away, it was great to be right at the front. Dave Gorman did a lovely version of my favourite ever Christmas song – Stop the Cavalry – complete with a panto-style sing-along lyrics board.
Highlight of the evening was Chris Addison and a very brave last-minute stand-in doing Fairytale of New York, shortly followed by Chris Addison and a very flustered Jessica Hynes (still in her coat and fresh from the theatre) doing it again.
Everyone gave it their best shot, and while there were too many performers to mention everyone, special mentions go to Ben Miller and Tony Gardner’s Bing and Bowie impressions during Little Drummer Boy (good grief that song is dire), the powerful lungs of the girl who took on Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas, and the talented teenage jailbait (Jack Gardner, I believe) who did a near note-perfect rendition of ELO’s Mr Blue Sky.
Oh, and the boys from Pappy’s Fun Club probably got the biggest (possibly unintentional?) laughs of the night, as Little Pappy threatened to make a bid for freedom. Here’s a tip, fellas – If you’re going to jump around stage wearing nothing but your pants, loose cotton boxer shorts may not be the ideal garment of choice.
Finally, everyone came back on stage for a blistering rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, complete with over-emoting, terrible falsetto and much headbanging. In the words of the Baron, one of the night’s judges, it was “Utterly BRIIIILLLLLIIAAAANNNTTT!”