Festival of Oddity
  • By Jay Kidd
  • |
  • 19th May 2014
  • |
  • ★★★

Laughing Horse’s Festival of Oddity is a platform for new work heading to the Edinburgh Fringe by clowns in the ascendant, Cheekykita and Jody Kamali. Open minded spectators and connoisseurs of odd will find this an enjoyable foray into the ridiculous.

Open minded spectators and connoisseurs of odd will find this an enjoyable foray into the ridiculous.

Cheekykita, loud and bonkers, is an anarchic delight. Dressed in a ‘forensic’ white boiler suit, silver outsized rubber gloves and sporting an orange bowl hat, she wastes no time breaking into song with Walking on the (bloody) Moony. As she takes the register, the audience are incorporated into her surreal world by answering to their (not always intelligible) abstract name of choice. Cheekykita then guides us through her eccentric story of space via an array of props and wonderful home-made costumes, my favourite being her representation of a black hole (her head poking out of a large sheet of black cloth adorned with haphazard silver stars). There is also some brilliant audience participation during her tri-lingual alien interviews, mic’d up space-dust, a lizard ballet and a dead ghost star. With her “moon madness” and inimitable delivery, Cheekykita is a funny and endearing character - like Les Dawson and tinfoil put through a new millennium blender. Forget Brian Cox, Cheekytika takes ‘spa-say’ and makes it shiny, a bit foldy and a lot funny.

Jody Kamali has set himself quite a task for our amusement: a one man variety show starring a host of characters from the worlds of entertainment, magic, opera and horror. Frank Valentine our amiable and rather nasal host is dashing and cheesy in equal measure. Victor the Vampire struggles with a mouthful of teeth and Jody’s Iranian father is a thwarted dancer. It is with the Incredible Man of Mystery and Mario Maricini however, that Kamali excels. Swapping silk scarves for plastic bags, our Man of Mystery dances with Sainsbury’s carriers: kicking, rubbing and prancing about the stage accompanied by dramatic facial expressions. With moments of peril and tragedy, the audience loved this parody of a flamboyant magician. Mario Maricini, the tenor who never quite gets going, is a ingeniously realised character and Kamali’s voice is good enough to carry off the effect of the tentative tenor who leaves the audience wanting more. The other characters, perhaps, show more evidence of a work in progress and the father in particular does not seem very developed; however, Kamali has an impressive range and, on the whole, keeps the audience well entertained.

As an experiment with new work, Festival of Oddity is a glass beaker brimming with camp hilarity, fizzing with the bizarre, with the occasional big bang (theory) and a stench of the absurd.

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The Blurb

Join Jody Kamali and Cheekykita, two of London’s highly original, up-and-coming alternative comedy performers. Expect vibrant clowning, character comedy and gloriously silly sketches. “Part physical clowning, part Alan Partridge meets CBBC” (Three Weeks). “Very Funny” (Time Out). “Cheekykita is bold, brave and totally ridiculous and that’s why I love it” (Dr Brown).