Friday, 10 October 2014

House Of Fun at Blackheath Halls - compered by Arthur Smith

SOUTH London comic Arthur Smith is bringing an air of bonviveure and amusement to Blackheath on Saturday with what he describes as a night of music and merriment.
The self-elected Night Mayor of Balham will be hosting the House Of Fun at Blackheath Halls, a variety show in which he will be introducing an eclectic range of acts to entertain the audience.
He promises it will be an uproarious night of variety with fantastic comedy, sparkling music, saucy stand-up, scintillating theatre and more though he admits anything could happen on the night.
"I'm not sure how it's going to go but it sounds a lot of fun," he laughs. "I'm intrigued to find out myself as it's the first time I've done this but I liked the sound of it.
"I have not seen any of them on stage before but I was approached by the organisers and asked to host it and when they told me what was involved it sounded like a bit of a laugh so I thought why not.
"I'm looking forward to it but I'm just going to go with the flow as it sounds like anything could happen!"
The line up includes comedian David Whitney and singer Felicity Duncan and her alter ego Eva the manic cleaner who scatters inappropriate malapropisms throughout the proceedings.
Then there is Slapper, where old-style music hall meets avante garde punk cabaret, a seven-piece band with a highly visual, rather outrageous theatrical style, who describe themselves as full of attitude and humour.
Music will be provided by Danny and the Moonlighters with a blend of upbeat and catchy tunes in a 1950s high-school-prom rock'n'roll style.
Magic will also feature on the bill courtesy of Pete Heat and Scott Penrose who will be bringing their different styles of magic to entertain the crowds.
And of course Arthur will be bringing his own inimitable brand of comedy to the proceedings as the "compere beyond compare".
"I'm going to be the compere beyond compare so will be nipping on and off stage introducing everyone," he says.
"It's great for me as normally I'm in the world of stand up so it's nice to be doing something a bit different and not to be doing a whole show myself.
"It means I can chat to the audience a bit and the pressure isn't all on me."
Each act will be about 10 minutes long which Arthur says is just the right length of time.
"There is a real mix on the bill so it's more of a complete kind of evening," he says. "If you don't like one act you only have to wait about 10 minutes before someone else comes along - so it should make for an entertaining evening.
"But it is exactly what it says on the tin - old school variety with a modern twist.
"Things go in waves and when I started in comedy there was a period where you had to be a stand up as everything else was a waste of time," he adds.
"It was quite right on but things seem to have exploded now and everyone is a comedian and doing every conceivable type of comedy. It's expanded so much and variety shows seem to be back in fashion with more and more cabaret acts on the scene. Even 10 years ago there weren't that many."
And he says he's looking forward to coming back to Blackheath Halls.
"I've done gigs there a few times," he says. "It's good to be doing the show there - it's an impressive building and lends itself to a this kind of show. It's got a fantastic Gothic feel to it and is totally an appropriate place to have it.
"I might even bring Leonard Cohen down for a bit to do a number and I promise to do a few tricks too... I'm quite good at magic - bet you didn't know that," he says before chuckling, "Even as I speak something peculiar is happening in the next room to you involving a dove....."

playwright, king of comedians, professional Leonard Cohen impersonator and star of radio's ‘Loose Ends’, ‘The Smith Lectures’ and tv's ‘The One Show’ and 'Grumpy Old Men'

Arthur Smith presents The House of Fun is at Blackheath Halls, on Saturday, October 18. Tickets cost £17.50. Visit or call the box office on 020 8463 0100.

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