And the Devil Will Drag You Under – Desmond O’ Connor. Spiegeltent, Old Steine Brighton, 26th May 2018
Saturday night at the Spiegeltent and an expectant Brighton crowd are seated and then greeted by, well…. The Devil. A Devil that blows flames out of his – ahem – sax, flirts, coaxes and cajoles like a deceased version of Joel Gray’s ‘Emcee’, but with a mouth straight from Potty-land. From the start this host, Desmond O’Connor, is very much in charge of steering the ship, and his skits, gags and songs are as eagerly awaited as the acts he introduces. In a wicked twist on the talent show format, the audience choose whether to send the ‘recently deceased’ performers to Heaven or Hell, and judging by reactions – down below is way more desirable.
A Piaf-hating French chanteuse kicks off proceedings, with a brooding tongue-in-cheek take on how love doesn’t translate, then it’s Bunny’s turn to throw serial killer one-liners (as well as real knives) at a chap who might not have realised what audience participation was likely to consist of. The Devil keeps predominately female company, it seems, including the infamous Lynn Ruth Miller (Lily Tomlin meets Joan Rivers), a very disturbing lady puppet, and a curvaceous burlesque cat in the shape of Coco Deville, whilst the intimate setting allows the albino feathered and pierced Leo the ability to (almost) acrobatically fall into the laps of the front row punters.
Frisky & Mannish were top of the bill and rolled out a lighting-fast set of musical spoofs in a search for a new anthem for womankind, before machine-gunning their way through an ‘inclusivity’ tongue-teasing tune vis-a-vis Flanders and Swann on speed. Frisky’ s voice is seriously listenable and the sardonic Mannish timed his piano and ripostes to perfection.
All-in-all, Hades was a hoot!