Reviews OWE & Fringe Published 17 September 2014

Miss Behave’s Gameshow­

London Wonderground ⋄ 13th September 2014

Sequins and chaos.

Brydie Lee­-Kennedy

I was predisposed to like Miss Behave’s Gameshow because if there are two things I want from my Saturday night, it’s chaos and sequins and this show is loaded up with both. It felt less like a structured performance than an experience shared with the most delightful drunks you’d hope to find at 9:30pm in a big city, a sensation enhanced by the glorious kitsch of its venue, London Wonderground. I challenge anyone to wander past the rotating carousel bar while Chuck Berry blasts from the speakers and the London Eye twinkles ridiculously above you and not be caught up in the buzzy silliness of it all. So I was suitably warmed and giggly before I even took my seat.

The rest of the crowd were, at first, not as easily sold. The deliberately makeshift design of the show and casual nature of the performances meant that the opening 10 minutes felt a little lacking in energy as the audience were divided into “iPhones” and “Others” and talked through the rules of the interactive gameshow. However, once the initial admin was out of the way, the audience fell rapidly­ and vocally­ in love with Miss Behave and her merry band of lunatics. The “games” themselves were fun but entirely beside the point,with the entirely arbitrary “points” system stopping any real sense of competition. They merely serves as a catalyst for fun and to build up a brilliant sense of frenzy.

As a performer, Miss Behave is a mistress of subverted expectations, her casually filthy mouth belying the glamour of her blindingly gold outfit. Similarly, her delightful assistant, Harriet, is a bearded schoolgirl lookalike who can switch from demure deference to sexy backup dancer at the drop of a beat. (Full disclosure, I am acquainted with Harriet in real life, a fact which would have made me the envy of many of the audience by the end of the show if the foot-stamping reactions to her routines were anything to go by).

Indeed, this subversion was the thread that held together the seemingly disparate elements of the night. An old fashioned gameshow that incorporates smart phones? Dazzlingly precise burlesque and acrobatic performances from acts who played at being drunk or frightened or both? A constant reminder amid joyous laughter that “Life isn’t fair”? It all worked because none of it should have and because both guests and hosts committed wholeheartedly to the mess.

A small comment on another type of subversion present in the night: a further unifying feature of the acts was an embrace of gender­-bending and gender ambiguity, from Harriet’s bearded and made­up face to the final act, The Two Wrongies, whose use of the female body was hilariously unerotic. While this is a common feature of cabaret and particular types of variety shows, it was a genuine delight to see it embraced by a raucous Saturday night crowd in the centre of London, many of whom did not appear to know exactly what they’d walked into when the show began. There is a special type of pleasure in seeing an initially skeptical-looking man drop his girlfriend’s hand in order to jump up and whoop as a boylesque performer finishes a spectacular striptease.

Miss Behave’s Gameshow strides confidently along a very thin thread separating glorious mayhem from a complete shambles and, mostly, succeeds in staying on the fun side of that line. It encapsulates both the broad brightness of a traditional gameshow and the sexy darkness of the best late­night cabaret and it does it all with a cracking soundtrack and increasingly ridiculous audience interaction. As my well­-refreshed, not­usually­a­fan­of-cabaret, companion said as we left “I was so on board with that…and now my throat hurts”.

Go. Yell. Drink. Compete. Get hoarse.


Brydie Lee­-Kennedy

Brydie is a comedian, writer and cabaret-er who has written extensively for television and other media in Australia and the UK, including as SBS Comedy’s sex and dating correspondent. In addition to her live performance work, she is the executive producer of Gatecrash, a podcast network based in London, on which she co-hosts 2 shows. She’s currently working on a number of projects including a fairytale told by puppets, a musical about the wives of Henry VIII and a recipe for making tofu delicious without deep-frying it. She lives in London with her beret collection, bourbon shelf and two tortoises.

Miss Behave’s Gameshow­ Show Info




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