4 Poofs and a Piano - Business as Usual

Behind the cheap gloss, sexual innuendos and hyper-kinetic jazz hands there is a whiff of melancholy to this instantly likable quartet.The boys are most famous for being Ross’s house band before the infamous BBC firing and the song sarcastically pokes fun at the host’s antics. In one of the highlights of the act, the boys sing a fond farewell to Jonathan Ross in a hilarious Adele-styled number. With references to Facebook, Grindr and the internet sprinkled throughout there is a sense that the boys are trying to keep up with the times. Elsewhere there is a downbeat romantic adieu to the ‘public cottage’ (that’s a man’s public toilet to you more innocent readers.) But it’s in the old-school British humour where the act succeeds. The spirit of ‘Carry On’ films lives on with every cheeky wink and sexual connotation unashamedly thrown at the audience. When the boys get dressed up in their Sixties outfits and the glitter ball gets rolling, both performers and audience are in their element. It may be unfair to pick a stand-out performer but surely one must give special mention to the vigorous David Wickeden who wins the audience over with his constant grinning and boisterous energy. The show has its flaws: while the quartet produce virtuous harmonies during the musical numbers, the dialogue between them is often stilted and mumbled. A number that delves into the sexual misadventures of one of the four gets more humour from the mishandled prop than the barely adequate lyrics. Though they never hide from the fact they are not great physical performers, surely watching for your dance cue while performing as a blind man is a huge blunder. Yet somehow, all the flaws are part of the show's appeal. Despite its tacky, quickly thrown-together set and unglamorous setting within Pleasance One, this cabaret act somehow manages to shine. It may just be my imagination, but as the boys promote their individual cabaret shows and albums towards the end, there is a feeling that 4 Poofs and a Piano may be coming to the end of their run. There are younger, funnier cabaret acts out there and if these four are planning to continue their act, I’d recommend catching their bittersweet show now before it becomes stale.

Reviews by Stewart McLaren

Online at www.DavidLeddy.com (with Traverse Theatre)

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The Blurb

Forearmed! Forewarned! 4 play! They're back and this time it's hormonal. Shaken but not stirred. Knicker wetting musical madness. Don't forget your laughing tackle. 'This uber-camp quartet shine' (Sunday Times).