PHB’s Free Fringe often uses some odd venues and this one, in the small disco downstairs at The Street, is cramped with awkwardly-shaped seating making it difficult for the whole audience to see the acts.
Miss Jones was a funny and warm host but the whole colourful experience was hampered by lack of space for both audience and performers
Cabaret Roulette’s beguiling MC Miss Jones sang an interesting take on Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, then introduced four diverse acts. The first was Raven Noir who filled the small catwalk/stage with her fabulous cloak of black feathers, long black hair, thigh tattoos and alluring personality. She was more goddess than gothic. Next came stand-up comedian Paul Savage. Fringe returner Savage opened with a great chemistry joke then delivered some well-crafted observational comedy. However, he took a giant leap back to the dark ages of less evolved, unfunny times with his comparison of women and cars. It was a surprising and badly judged addition to an otherwise decent turn. The illusionists Griffin & Jones rumbled onto the catwalk and bumbled their way through to the end of a possibly clever illusion. It was a shame that some of the audience could not see what was going on. Last came Cabaret Roulette resident performer, the super-chatty Anna Lou, with her beautiful accordion and potty-mouthed – so much sexier with outrageous French accent – lament. Entertaining enough but not an overly strong closing act. In between performers the comically prissy Missy came to clear up.
It would be fun to go along on consecutive nights to see what the chosen act - this time it was Griffin & Jones - made of the roulette challenge, plus some different acts. Miss Jones was a funny and warm host but the whole colourful experience was hampered by lack of space for both audience and performers. In terms of space there’s intimate and then there’s discomfort; this entertaining troupe deserve better. I hope this doesn’t put them off returning next year but to a more suitable venue.