Ol’ Blue Eyes and Friends – Live on TV

 

The World Premier of a new musical show is always an event for those who are fans of this genre and thaAlhambra Theatre Dunfermline is the place to check one out this week.

The show, set in the late fifties, is in a TV studio and the audience are there to witness a TV spectacular hosted by ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, as he sings classics of the time and introduces three of his friends Gene Kelly, Doris Day and Judy Garland, who also perform some of there best loved numbers.

The storyline is simple, basically there is nothing more complex than Frank fronting the show, the lib is minimal, but where the magic is created is the four stars, Stephen Triffitt as Frank, Darren Bennett, no not the ‘Strictly’ dancer but the actor, as Kelly, Miranda Wilford as Doris aand Adrienne Stiefel as Garland doing the classic numbers such as Luck be a Lady, Mack the Knife, Secret Love, Singing in the Rain, Somewhere Over the Rainbow… the list just goes on and on, and they are superbly backed by a very tight band under the direction of MD Andy Rumble.

Comedy sketches, non-PC adverts are included and backing vocals are supplied by an ensemble of Alan Birkett, Kelsey Cobbam and Andrea Lynette Young who flit in and out throughout the two hour spectacular.

The set is simple and yet well designed, the lighting plot effective and director and choreographer Bill Deamer moves the cast around with consumate ease. The slight quibble I had was that given the sightlines at the Alhambra and the speaker stacks on the stage apron, if the action was taking place towards the back corners occassionally this was unable to be seen by the audience slightly away from the centre of the theatre.

This is a show that will undoubtedly go down well with ‘those of a certain age’ who can remember the songs first time around, but given the timeless classics on offer perhaps a younger element could be encouraged to attend as well.

I do however have a major gripe with the show and one that I feel detracted hugely from my total enjoyment. Given that the piece is set in the fifties why did they opt to have as an encore Triffitt singing ‘My Way’? Yes he sang it superbly, and it is a classic Sinatra number, but the song was written in 1968 around ten years after the period we had been transported back to. Maybe it was just me but I felt it was unneccessary and should be taken out.

You still have a chance to catch this show as it has performances still to play on Saturday 6 November at 2-30 and at 7-30, check ot the Alhambra theatre website www.alhambradunfermline.com for details, and for their whole host of forthcoming shows over the next few months.

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Wicked Wenches – Stand Comedy Club – 2 November

With the clocks going back last weekend, the weather cold, windy and damp it should have been a pretty bleak November evening in Edinburgh shouldn’t it? Well maybe in some parts, but it was anything but at The Stand Comedy Club where a selection of some of the finest female comedy talent in Scotland, plus a visiting English one served up an evening of red hot comedy to warm the cockles of any heart.

MC as usual for the Wicked Wenches gig was Glaswegian Susan Calman. I don’t think there has been an occasion we I have attended this all female gig that she hasn’t been at the helm. As one could expect Susan did her job with style and as only she can, warming up the crowd, telling funny stories and eliciting information from the crowd for call-backs, both for herself and for those to follow. A really funny a professional performance from this once corporate lawyer.

The opening act was Glasgow based, but of Irish heritage, Elaine Malcolmson. It has been a while since I have seen her perform and she was every bit as good as I remembered. Elaine always plays it very dead pan, almost as if she vulnerable or lacking in confidence but then comes out with some wicked material, virtually all of which was new to me anyway. It took me a couple of times to really ‘get’ her style, but now that I have I am hooked.

The first interval followed, then Ms Calman, who really seemed to be enjoying herself on the night returned with a few minutes of material before introducing Dee Custance. Although this English girl is locally based these days I have only seen her one before some years ago, so it was a novel experience, especially as she hit the stage with a ukulele. She proceeded to serenade the audience with three quirky self-penned songs interspersed with a little of her comedy material. I really liked some of her set; parts however were a little surreal for me though. However she has load of potential and I look forward to seeing her again.

The visiting Bethany Black. Ms Black, the only time I had previously seen her perform was again at The Stand back in March, was certainly up for it and entertained for the duration of her set.  Self billed as UK’s foremost Goth, lesbian, post-op transsexual stand-up Bethany has a different style of set than what preceded her. A native of Chorley, now Manchester based has an interesting and funny material about her hometown and her current abode, feral children, Goths and Chavs,fetish gigs and practices, her father and computers not to mention a romantic story or two. In feel she made a number of new fans on the night and deservedly so too.

Following the second interval and prize draw headline act Janey Godley took to the stage and just raised the bar even higher than it already was at.

Every time I see this extremely talented and funny Glasgow comic she just gets better and better. Not only is she an extremely funny, well observed and well prepared comedian, but she has a gift with words that leaves me awestruck. Some comedians use slide presentations and the like to illustrate their performances, Ms Godley has no need of such devices, she has words descriptive and powerful enough to conjure up images that are as clear as the best of pictures. There is only one trouble with her sets; they are just not long enough. It seems that she has barely started and already she has overrun. Yet thinking back and the number of laughs she has drawn, no one could ever complain of being shortchanged. I can’t wait to see her again.

The Stand has quality comedy such as tonight virtually every night of the year and you can check out the forthcoming gigs both in Edinburgh and Glasgow check out their website www.thestand.co.uk