Review: Malcolm Hardee 10 Years On, Up The Creek

Malcolm Hardee

There was no dilemma about choosing a picture to go with this review. While Malcolm Hardee might not have been present – he died ten years ago on January 31, 2005, drowning in his beloved Thames – he was very much there in spirit throughout this show that was both a celebration of his life and fundraiser for the film being made about him directed by Jody Vandenburg and Domenico Favata and written by Naomi De Pear.

In fact as I walked in it seemed that Malcolm had been reincarnated. “Might be good, might be shit,” said the scruffy, bespectacled compere about the next act. It took me a while to realise that it was a bewigged Terry Alderton, channeling his inner Rory Bremner for the night and playing host by playing the famous host and dusting off his old lines. "Fuck it" was another favourite recycled.

I’d missed one of Hardee’s old muckers Martin Soan making one of his mandatory naked appearances at the start, but arrived in time to see Candy Gigi. This is an act that I’m sure Malcolm would have loved, constantly teetering on the brink of being way too disturbingly eccentric as she screamed and rubbed a cheese grater over a toy baby. 

Gigi seemed to set the tone with artistes coming on doing a super-quick turn and running off. John Robertson, best known for his Dark Room multi-media shows, arrived and showed some perverse support for the plans for the documentary, suggesting that Hitler had had films made about him so why shouldn't there be films about Malcolm? He closed with an impromptu Schrodinger-inspired routine asking the audience to guess what was in a box with one lucky punter wnning the box. It was duly presented but not opened…

I interviewed Funny Women winner Jayde Adams last year and she was a force of nature merely sitting in her front room. Not surprisingly she was even more formidable onstage in a flesh-toned body suit belting out Nessun Dorma. Under closer scrutiny her material wasn’t the best of the night, but she has so much personality, confidence and charisma – and a great operatic singing voice – that more than made up for a fairly familiar story about a journey-from-hell on a noisy sleeper bus.

The acts seemed to come thick and fast. After the first interval Irish poet Owen O’Neill recalled meeting Hardee at a pre-hipster 1984 Glastonbury. O’Neill got up onstage at Glasto and promptly fell off into a pool of mud. Hardee’s immediate response was to laugh and say "fuck it" and book him for his legendary Tunnel Club. 

Review continues here

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