May 19, 2015
The cloak room had been filled, the canapés had been munched and the judges had been introduced. Set within the splendour of Piccadilly’s stunning Café de Paris, Beat the Brief was all set to begin.
And what a night it proved to be.
In the always difficult first slot were Beato Burrito, a comedic mariachi band. It was hard to say exactly how they’d manage in dealing with the brief – marketing a new line of shoes – but we needn’t have been nervous. After a brief burst on the trumpet and a quick strum on the guitars, they launched into a self-penned ditty on shoes, a refrain of “nice colours” having the audience in stitches. Two other carefully adapted renditions of classic tunes followed and the judges were resounding in their praise.
Next up was the extremely hi-tech Zero Central, an act which combined LED projection, infra-red technology and incredible aerial hoop artistry. A logo for the fictional shoe company had been designed by the Zero Central team especially for the performance, whilst many man hours had apparently been put in, including digitally scanning the legs of the performer, which were then projected back to the crowd during the performance. It was, to put it mildly, very impressive and the judges were effusive in praising the effort put in.
With both of the acts so far having beaten the brief, it was now up to Mow the Brass to do their thing! A brass orchestra were never going to have the easiest time adapting the brief to their own style and despite the very talented musicians involved, the judges ultimately asserted that they felt a little more could be done to incorporate the shoes as specified in the brief. So a good performance but weren’t sure it fulfilled the requirements of the competition.
A duo ordinarily known for their 1920s dancing were next thrust into the spotlight – The Twin Swing. They began with a specially created video before admirably wearing and advertising the shoes in the process of their dance. Before the presenter of the evening could interrupt, they explained that they still weren’t finished and taught an audience member how to dance the Charleston to great success! The judges weren’t too sure it fulfilled the 1950s element of the brief, but this was a small gripe and all could agree that The Twin Swing had definitely put in the effort required to beat the brief.
The final act of the evening was card magician, Andrei Isfan. He was incredibly subtle in his approach to the brief, noting the name and copious colours of the fictional product – Additions – and framing his act around this detail, allowing the audience to do some simple maths and marvel as cards changed from red to black seemingly at will. With phenomenal sleight of hand, Andrei was perhaps unfortunate that the judges didn’t feel the shoes were incorporated into the act enough, something that many of the crowd seemed to question.
The way Beat the Brief works is that the judges select a top two and then the audience vote for the individual winner. After a short debate between the four judges, it was deemed that Beato Burrito and Zero Central deserved to go through to the final. Of course only one act could actually progress and the crowd were faced with a difficult decision, voting via the medium of noise. Unfortunately, it was too close to call. So the audience had to stand for their favourite act. That was also too close to call and eventually Adam Sternberg stated that every member of the crowd had to stand behind their favourite act of the two.
With just three votes in it, Beato Burrito were crowned the worthy winners and move onto Event 360 at the Roundhouse on 23rd June.
Many thanks to all the acts for taking part and we look forward to welcoming you all again for the second heat at Guanabara on 16th June!
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By Henry Fosdike