Where to start with
A show that relies exclusively on audience participation is going to be different every day, but this means it’s even more essential to have a solid foundation on which to begin.
There’s plenty of razzle-dazzle onstage to match the glitter and sequins of the cocktail bar in which we are sat; glamorous assistants move exciting set pieces back and forth as required, and our hosts are suited-up in spangled jumpsuits and funky wigs to match. Big smiles are a-plenty, which is great to see, but unfortunately these do not make up for the lack of charisma from our compere Ray, despite best efforts from his co-host Gloria. It’s always hard to warm up a crowd for a variety show in the middle of the day, but today the banter with the audience repeatedly falls flat.
Spinning the wheel of fortune (although fortune in this case is something of a misnomer), possible games can range from bizarre originals, such as Dance For France and Is It Mayo?, to racy pastiches on well-loved classics such as Stars In Their Eyes and Countdown (no prizes for guessing what the pun is here). Whilst, at first, audience members were fairly willing to participate, when a spin of the wheel resulted in Lose £5 and the poor subjects were made to stand on stage until one of them awkwardly produced a tenner, volunteers became noticeably harder to find. I must add, I don’t know if this was returned at the end of the show, but it certainly alienated the room and made any form of recovery a difficult task.
I was desperate for this to be a joyous celebration of all the tacky things we love about our game shows, but there were just too many things going wrong to enjoy. Music cues are missed, prizes are lost backstage and contestants are either trodden on as hosts forget they’re still there or pushed backwards as microphones are repeatedly thrust into faces.
A show that relies exclusively on audience participation is going to be different every day, but this means it’s even more essential to have a solid foundation on which to begin. I really, really wish I could tell you to go and see this for a piece of cringeworthy, so-bad-it’s-good cabaret variety, but I have to review on what I saw and this was simply not the case.