July 26, 2011
In the First Part of Our Showcase Blog; we featured acts that tootle along happily in the background whilst guests enjoy a drink or canape - either as background music or strolling magic performers. For this post, we're focussing on the second part of our showcase. Following the civilities of afternoon tea, we kicked things into a slightly racier gear with our stupendous stage show.
Leading the proceedings was seasoned compere Ryan Philpot whose easy-going charm and natural audience rapport put the guests in the best possible frame of mind before watching each act. And considering the variety of acts on display, that was no easy task. A long-time Sternberg Clarke favourite for compering gigs, Ryan was the only choice for an event such as this where he could get involved with the small audience in the cosy surrounds of the Marriott County Hall.
Showcasing even more variety than our first half (no small feat) our acts ranged from barbershop swooners to swoonsome crooners, hoop dancers and latin romancers and... this is difficult - if only there were someone who could take subjects and weave them into witty, spontaneous poems with such ease that it may as well be classed as a magic show.
Oh wait - we had just that in the shape of Judge the Poet. A Former Featured Act Friday act, Judge's act has to be seen to be believed - taking suggestions from the audience (anything from words to concepts) Judge delivered rapid fire rhymes with effortless style and charm. The audience didn't know whether to laugh out loud or scratch their heads with bewilderment at his brilliant wordplay - the Sternberg Clarke Team included.
Hot on Judge’s heels were The Harmonics; an irresistable mix of Barbershop harmonies and 4 piece live band. The guys reminded us why we fell head over heels in love with them all those months ago with a couple of retro tinged tunes that had everyone in the audience hooked from the first “Whoooooo”
Sticking with the retro theme, another vocal harmony favourite in the office (and still our current hold music) The Strumpettes took to the stage with their winning mix of ukes and vocals wrapped up with their June Carter Cash-esque inter-song banter. This all female vocal trio used their knowing stage prescence and winking delivery to entrance the crowd with a few numbers from the 40s and 50s including Folsom Prison Blues and Sing Sing Sing (which you may recognise as the music in the showreel video below!)
Hoop dancing cabaret sensation Pippa the Ripper put on a dizzying hoop display that ran rings around… herself. Starting with just 3 hoops, Pippa kept upping the ante (if by “ante” you mean “number of hoops”) to a point where she was basically just a disembodied head with a tornado of metalic hoops whipping around where her torso should have been.
Bringing us back to the music was the comparatively stationary singer guitarist Neb. Neb performed spelbinding renditions of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark and the Killer’s Mr Brightside to a warmly appreciative audience. Perhaps the spelbindingness came from Neb’s skills in his other act as a magician at corporate events… we love a multi tasker.
Giving the evening an injection of latin intensity, dance duo Tango Soul performed a strutting, energetic routine that was so sexually charged that Ben Lloyd Evans fainted and had to be carried out by the Strumpettes, who are surprisingly strong.
Suave crooner Kevin Fitzsimmons sent us hurtling back to Vegas in the 50s with his velvet smooth Rat Pack tribute that was positively oozing with laid back charm and Sinatra-esque charisma. Though he’s been a Sternberg Clarke act for a number of years; Kevin never fails to impress us whenever he performs and this was no exeption.
Keeping things suitably vintage were piano/vocal Duo, Minx and the Maverick who brought their smoky, noir-ish charm to a short-but-sizzling cabaret performance. Featuring the late night piano tinkling of Maverick accompanist Tom and the Jessica-Rabbit-come-to-life vocals of his partner in crime Lisa, Minx and Maverick made everyone in the room believe it was 2 in the morning and they were on their fifth scotch… In a good way.
Luring guests away from dry land was Balloon Modeler Natalie who twisted and squeaked her assortment of colourful balloons into a vibrant underwater scene with the help of our very own Wedding Coordinator, Alice “The Matrimony-Pony” Chorley. With participation from the audience, Natalie made a scene straight from Finding Nemo… that was, until the Shark Turned up to chase our Scuba Diving participant around the room. Sadly, Natalie was underwater and therefore unable to hear the howls of laughter from the audience.
Rounding out the evening was, who else, A Giant Green Balloon. Not interesting in and of itself but when you consider that squeezing his lubricated, part-naked body into that balloon would be cabaret legend Bruce Airhead - things start to get interesting. Plunging headfirst into the rubbery sphere with nothing but a vacuum cleaner and a bottle of baby oil, Bruce gave guests a performance that they’re unlikely to forget, topped off with a Big Finish that treads the line between magic trick and musical tribute – we really shouldn’t spoil it.
And as a special treat, here's an extended version of the Showcase Video by Kit Oates. See more of Kit's work here and here.