In the back room of the White Horse pub, Danny Mullins is taking us through what his promo material describes as interactive music magic. Really, what it feels like is being at a house party reaching that gentle, almost but not quite end of the night, when someone picks up a guitar and there’s a spontaneous jam/sing-along.
This isn’t what I would call a cabaret show and it would benefit from structure, but it’s a pleasant way to pass the evening.
It’s cosy and pleasant and like being in someone’s lounge room. Even though most of us are tired and not really in the mood for participating, Mullins encourages us skilfully to have a go at singing a few lines here and there, and contributing to the creation of songs he improvises on the spot. He’s a consummate musician who can slip easily across genres and manages to pick up small details about us to fit in the songs. Some of the audience members were there with a show and had had a long day of flyering and performing. Mullins performed a folk song detailing the ordeals of the Fringe – including attempting to flyer in crowds of people. Somewhat hilariously, when he asked the troupe what the show was about and they said ‘patricide’ he misheard and decided to commit to something else instead. So we heard in song form about Badgercide, which is what happens when a cull is not enough.
As well as the improvised, interactive songs, Mullins has also prepared a set list, which includes a song about a girlfriend who was a vegetarian (sung with an Eastender’s accent) and a song about Facebook relationships, Imaginary Girlfriend, which provides the title for the performance.
Between songs Mullins shares a few stories about himself, and again it reminds me of being at a house party in the small hours of the morning, engaged in a conversation with someone you’ve only just me, who forgets how little you know each other and sometimes shares too much with you too soon.
This isn’t what I would call a cabaret show and it would benefit from structure, but it’s a pleasant way to pass the evening. Mullins makes individual connections with each audience member and his songs are very entertaining.