We must declare an interest.
UNWRAPPED: May Contain Strallens & Musical Nuts came to us not just with Strallens and nuts but contained the Whingers’ patented “Strallometer” (see below) which we created to grade any show containing one of the ubiquitous Strallen clan. It was used with our full permission and cleverly animated using technology way beyond our technical wherewithal.
For this was a one-off Sunday evening cabaret produced by Strallen père, Sandy Strallen* to show off the not inconsiderable talents of 2 of his seed (Summer and Zizi), with the “Musical Nuts” coming in the form of the Casey sisters (Natalie and Anna-Jane). One might be tempted to call them “nut Caseys”.
Andrew arrived expecting a rendition of Irving Berlin’s “Sisters”. He was not to be disappointed, although the show kicked off with “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves”. How did we not see that coming?
We were a bit lost with some of the chosen material as we are not terribly au courant with what we call “modern music”. So delving into the catalogues of the likes of Emeli Sandé, John Legend and Bruno Mars left us a bit perplexed. Young people must be indulged we suppose. But once the quartet had delivered a brilliant and hilarious show-stopping “Show Off” from The Drowsy Chaperone we came right on board. Phil and Andrew turned to each other and whispered “That’s more like it” so simultaneously you might indeed believe them to be sisters too.
One of our post-interval highlights was a reworking of “Macavity: The Mystery Cat” that had us laughing throughout. It was worthy of Forbidden Broadway.
What we hadn’t expected was how funny and enjoyably rude they all would be. Sitting at bar stools between numbers in front of an on stage bar – complete with a semi-clad barman – and bantering like Loose Women but with the wit and humour the TV show lacks, there was a nicely spontaneous and agreeably ragged, seemingly unrehearsed spontaneity to their conversations. There was a definite feel that they had might have knocked back a few drinks. We certainly had.
Which may have been the reason we did something we never do. When coerced by the performers to stand and dance some sort of funk we actually joined in. Imagine. Let’s hope the man who was filming the show didn’t pick that up. We have our solicitors ready.
Hopefully they’ll do it again. Perhaps get all 4 Strallens together next time, though we wouldn’t want the fabulous Casey sisters to be left out, though they can leave out the drag queens who made a rather expendable appearance. Scarlett appeared via PowWowNow from her dressing room during the interval matinee of A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder on yer actual Broadway. Yes, there was a surprising amount of technology being utilised. Apparently A-JC insisted on her own version of “The Strallometer” and was duly indulged.
And Phil’s memory is so rubbish these days that he hadn’t realised he’d also aided them with the title of the show, but sadly his memory was good enough to confront Gok Wan (who was also in the audience) and regale him with the story of how he was mistaken for him at the Edinburgh festival. Let’s just say Mr Wan was extremely gracious about it.
You can make what you will of our rating. But we really did have a lot of fun.
* Strallen Fact File:
Sandy apparently met his wife Cherida Langford (mother to the Strallen gals) when they were both in the original London production of Cats (which Phil saw in preview – seats bought half price for the revolving part of the auditorium at TKTS booth!). Cherida is sister to Bonnie Langford (who was also in the original Cats). Scarlett’s godfather is Christopher Biggins. Phew! It doesn’t get more showbizzy than that.
Hard to believe, but long, long ago, Phil was once lined up as a “potential suitor” for Bonnie Langford. He would have been very unsuitor-able. Bonnie had a lucky escape.