Review – Musical Comedy Awards Final 2022, Bloomsbury Theatre

Review – Musical Comedy Awards Final 2022

The last WeGotTickets Musical Comedy Awards final was in October last year due to Covid but this year's prestigious final was back on schedule in the Spring. The fact that there was a quick turnaround certainly didn’t result in a shortage of new talent. If anything the 12 acts on this occasion showed that musical comedy is an increasing diverse, increasingly popular genre. 

After compere Nick Horseman’s engagingly cheeky warm-up, the first act was Joseph Emslie, who looks like an off the peg young indie kid but has a few tricks up his sleeve. There are jokes about being a coeliac, dentists and his resemblance to others but best of all was his song about his youthful appearance and the things he’s been asked to produce his ID to buy. No placing but a strong start to the evening.

The Sugarcoated Sisters are Tabby and Chloe. They perform in matching bright costumes and matching bright hairdos which added extra layers of showbiz magic dust to their song about their hometown. It was a clever close harmony number with smart lyrics which evoked the work of Flo and Joan. The Sugarcoated Sisters have already had some Tik Tok success and their performance here won them the Best Newcomer prize.

Third act Jeff Japers bounded onstage like a frisky pony and then proceeded to win over both the audience and judges with some brilliantly silly MOR melody songs, opening with a number asking what happened to Junction 31 on the M4. If the world is ready for a camp John Shuttleworth look no further. A song about inappropriate equestrian questions and a closing ditty about the Royal Family sealed the deal - Japers won the audience vote and the main prize. 

Kayleigh Jones was one of the more conventional musical comedy acts on the night. Jones explained that she is also an actor and had some punchy lines about the horror of casting calls, particularly for women of a certain age. A joke about being the person that forced cake on Boris Johnson added a topical garnish to a set that raised a laugh without having that special something needed to get a placing on a night when the standard was so high. 

Talal Karkouti brought bags of energy to the stage despite the slightly sarcastic opening of calling the competition a “musical comedy sausage factory”. The inevitable comparison was with Omid Djalili – Karkouti is Anglo-Syrian and gets some pithy gags out of contrasting his middle class Englishness with his Syrian side. His act built steadily, the stand-out section being a song about sharing his dad’s genes in general and his dad's baggy balls in particular. It earnt him a well-deserved second place.

The final act of a very varied first half was Simon David, who strutted on in high heels and short skirt and sang a song about masturbating to porn, which started out pretty tasteless and got more tasteless as it went on. It got a lot of laughs, though maybe some were shocked laughs, but it certainly made an impact and David picked up third prize.

Review continues here.

Picture of Jeff Japers ©Ed Moore.


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