Britain’s got some talent and it’s right here at the Spiegeltent. Not often can you can say that a show suits all ages, shapes and sizes. This is one of those rare treats. The comedy troupe Slightly Fat Features brings a new generation of variety back with a storm. Their website called it ‘a smorgasbord of theatrical invention’ and they got it just about right! Or, as Matt Barnard eloquently put it during the act: “Cirque du Soleil must be shitting themselves”.
Not often can you can say that a show suits all ages, shapes and sizes. This is one of those rare treats.
The wet and miserable Bank Holiday Monday afternoon got much brighter from the moment this whirlwind of energy known as VarietyVille took to the stage. What followed was 70 minutes of classic circus tricks, magical moments, musical interludes, sing-alongs and orchestrated mayhem. This Monty Python-esque carnival of laughter even had tigers, elephants, a horse and a puppy. Ok, not real ones, but stunts like this couldn’t be performed on live animals, so I’m not complaining.
The Slightly Fat Features is a merry troupe of seven solo artists with distinct talents and an impressive list of merits under their belt. All have a background as street entertainers and the hours put on working the audience really shows. I mean, how many acts can say they got the entire audience jumping up and down, clapping their hands and singing at the top of their lungs? Even the little ones lapped up the performance. There wasn’t a single cry or whine from the jam-packed audience throughout the show. The events proceeded at such speed that it was hard enough just to remember to breath.
To highlight just some of the talent is unfair as there really aren’t any weak links. Goronwy Thom is a multitalented MC with great timing and eye for detail that made each performance both stand out and fit together. The pianist and composer Robert Lee and the drummer Matt Barnard kept the pace going impeccably. Gareth Jones performed a hilarious escape artist routine wrapped in cling film. Jon Hicks, the mime, brought Harpo Marx beautifully to the 21st Century. I wouldn’t let him anywhere near my pet though. Herbie Treehead was the archetypal grumpy clown that everyone adores. His unique song Happy beats Pharrell’s version 6-0. And then there is Richard Garaghty. Well, let’s just say that his tiger-taming act is out of this world. The grand finale where the magnificent seven formed a human water fountain will remain lodged in my head for a long time. Maybe forever.