Monday, 21 May 2012

Eccentronic: We Won't Rock You [BRIGHTON FRINGE 2012]

CHEESY SPECTACULAR WITH 
BUNDLES OF CREATIVITY AND 
TONS OF GEEKY CHARM.


ALTHOUGH NOT THE HIGHEST QUALITY
PRODUCTION YOU'LL EVER SEE
THE ABSURD ENERGY CARRIED IT OFF.


This is John making and handing out cheese toasties during the show. Yes he did.

What's It All About Then?

Free comedy show held on Saturday 19th May at the Caroline of Brunswick pub as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival 2012. Eccentronic are made up of John Callaghan and Ms Hypnotique.


Described as "a zesty melee of electronic musical mash-ups and oddball humour" featuring songs about "...time-wasting, socks and visiting the Welsh town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch".



They moved around so much that it was very difficult to get any decent photos of them!

So Is It Any Good?
+++ Geeky Thrills +++
This was an exceptionally geeky show - and that is meant as a MASSIVE compliment. Starring a guy who quotes one of his biggest influences as Timmy Mallett and a gal who rocks out in a corset playing the theremin, this show is a stadium-filling show-stopping musical masterpiece... condensed into an hour-long slightly-corny pub-back-room show.


Featuring musical nods to Queen (obvs), N.W.A., Electric Light Orchestra, Pet Shop Boys, Sisqo, Pulp and Black Lace - all worked into songs concerning cheffing, coming "Straight Outta Trumpton" and the overwhelming desire to make cheese toasties. Which they then did while on stage. And passed round to the audience. Totally awesome.


The song about the Welsh town - Llanfair-whatsit - was equally brilliant. While sounding like a gimmick, they did actually manage to write a chorus that featured the name broken up into chunks in a sort of Kraftwerk fashion (something like Llan, Llanfair, Llanfairpwyllgwyngyll etc.). To round that off, there was a Welsh guy in the audience who gave us a fluid demonstration of how the name sounds in the native accent - to a huge round of cheers from everyone else!




The subtitles for the song about that Welsh town - maybe as a prompt for the band?



+++ Fun-Filled Blitz +++
The show was energetic from start to finish - the performers "bigged themselves up" in such a humorous and bombastic fashion that the audience came round to them very quickly. They then broke into a song about frying that involved a frying pan to the face (nice!). Before the show was finished, there had been several costume changes, a variety of styles and instruments, an in-depth analysis of the workings of musical comedy and just the right level of audience participation so as to make it enjoyable inclusive.


They had down moments, the slow-tempo version of Thong Song played with a minuature hand barrel piano added a nice change in pace while still being hilariously funny. The last few songs were a middle class rap - with some very bad ("bad" bad - not "good" bad) street dance moves - and a audience-based version of Agadoo/Itsy-Bitsy-Teeny-Weeny-Yellow-Polka-Dot-Bikini that rounded off the evening well. 


We were then asked what final number we would like: a cleverly worded piece by John that artistically wraps up the show or a Queen-based number from Ms Hypnotique that has a grand-finale feel to it?


We actually went for the first one - obviously the audience was like me - they actually really got into the witty, geeky parody writing and wanted one last cheeky, cheesy tune to close things. It was indeed satisfactorily cheesy and it was fun to watch as they performed a fairly complicated canon piece...  fairly badly. We all laughed our socks off because of that though.

--- Slightly Quality Issues ---
So just to offer some constructive feedback on where I think it could have been improved - the volume in the room was a bit offset so that the electronic backing tracks often drowned out whatever jokes were being made by the performers. People near the front laughed a lot but maybe they could hear the performers directly. Further back you could hear faint mumbling and a lot of synth for some numbers. 


Another point is that some of the singing and theremin playing was a little too crap to be funny at points - big long notes wailed off-key and theremin floating loosely near the tune they were trying to emulate (so during one song I had to guess where we were in the tune because it was nowhere near). When they asked a member of the audience to try the theremin - and a randomer just fancied giving it a go - the noise produced was actually slightly better! Ah well, this may have been that on the tracks where Ms Hypnotique was playing the theremin that the speakers setup made it difficult to hear her part - but it was often distinctly wobbly at points.


The rap numbers were good... I think.... but very hard to hear.
Conclusions
This show was great fun -
 they cheated me out of my entry fee though:
they did, in fact, rock me.



The atmosphere was spot-on but perhaps the sound system could be improved upon. 



The show didn't take itself seriously and the guys just went all out to provide a jolly good laugh. Nice work.

Feel free to post comments or contributions to improve the experience!
Any images in this review are taken by Brighton Games Trader.

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