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The ‘Alternative Cabaret Night’ I attended took place on Thursday 24 March 2016. And alternative it was too, with grime acts such as JLG, BEANZ, G doubleE and others, comedy from, Giggle Dungeon, Comedy Takeover, and dance by WINGZ. All compared by the inexcusable Debbie Fenner; a raw and gritty night which set out to keep the audience happy.

The show began a little later than 7.30pm as expected, where we are introduced to, or rather she introduced herself, the die-hard cabaret act Debbie Fenner who has been through the mill of life’s ups and downs yet still remains top of the bill of the entertainment scene, (or so she thinks). (Debbie Fenner is the pseudonym character played by the amusing Jo Cassidy, and has been created with organiser of the nights Melanie Whitehead).

Debbie is an out of work, divorced singer who loves not only to perform, but loves herself (a bit too much); she feels she is well received around the pub entertainment circuit, but is she really? Her determined approach to her diminishing role dwindles as she tries her damned hardest to revive her career. She is heckled by the audience, and with true panache she instantly shouts them back down, and puts them in their place with her northern wit and biting tongue. A real lady!

Sinead O’Connor would have been prouder than an Irish woman on St Patricks Day with Debbie Fenner’s performance of ‘Nothing Compares to You’. A heart breaking rendition of the classic song, played out to Debbie’s need to rush back to her place at the bar for her next G&T.

First up on stage and punishing the mic with his grime beats and ultra-rhythm of rhyming lyrics, is Wyzdom. A young lad from Garstang, who was extremely lyrical with his own jam: ”I Need You To Save Me” all about broken love. He busted it truly. Pure.

Other grime acts also hit the spot with stupendous lyrics and pompous beats with true meaning and from the heart. Raw. Their entourage of female grimers loved it too and got closer to the stage to photo and love their rhymes. All very ‘gangsta’, especially for the Royal Oak, or maybe it was me.

The comedy acts to follow (who are all part of the Northwest Comedy Collective) were very well rehearsed and performed to an astounded audience, especially me. I actually loved it despite the crudity of some of the material, but that’s what was popular on the night; meant to shock, and if you don’t like what you see then get out (kind of thing). All meant with zeal, to have the most intimidating effect on the intimate audience.

(Although, on the evening there were a few technical hitches, nothing that can’t be worked on, and they leant themselves well to the whole feel for the night). Debbie Fenner is back, with more graceful wisdom, this time as Lady Ga Ga, singing ‘Bad Romance’, which in its entirety is more like a pastiche within a pastiche, a cabaret within a cabaret within a cabaret. Quite bizarre actually, and very well done. Debbie (if she doesn’t mind me being on first name terms with her) managed the splits while singing, which is a spectacle in itself, so keep going Debbie, you’re doing a great job!

All the acts were splendid, raw, true talent with lots of bottle to get up there and do it for real.  Scratch South Shore takes place every month, and is an ongoing thing, so if you feel you have what it takes to do your thing on stage in front of a live audience, then contact the organisers via their Facebook Page.

For all the real fans of the cabaret, it’s a meagre three pounds entrance fee, which is nothing to support friends and family and to keep your finger on the pulse of local talent. This was the third of these events, each one with a range of different acts on the bill; to keep up to date on next venues, acts and dates check out their Facebook Page.

I’ll see you there next time!

  • Local artist, (painting, drawing, collage, and occasional photography, (for reference), of landscape, and abstract, in oil, acrylic, and any other medium which captures my imagination. Contributor, and writer for altBlackpool. Collector, of sometimes anything, but mostly pot, and ceramics.

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