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BRIGHTON FRINGE: Bla Bla Land – Caravanserai, Junk Poets

Reviewer: Simon Topping

By: Tea and Toast

Brighton group Tea and Toast present their wonderfully odd musical, Blah Blah Land to a receptive late night Fringe audience.

It’s 10.15pm on a Friday night at the Caravanserai and there is a raucous weekend atmosphere. Within the night time melee the Junk poets venue offers a partial calming oasis; A less hectic environment to watch a fabulously bonkers musical made up on the spot.

The four players in tonight’s improvised musical firstly ask the audience for some suggestions to set the scene; a place, one good thing about that place, one bad thing about that place. The place for this performance is a fictitious version of Bognor Regis. Described by an audience member quite bluntly as “A quaint seaside shit hole”. Which raised a lot of laughter in the tent.

Delving deeper, Tea and Toast found out a good thing to do in Bognor was mini golf and a place to avoid was Butlins. This led to musical number one, a rumba-esque number deftly played by Joe Samuel, the fifth member of the crew; a track that incorporated several inventive ideas about Bognor being a less than attractive place to live, having a funny repeatable phrase that delights the gathering.

Scene one takes us to a mini golf course where it has already hapless Kenneth 85 shots on one hole to the dismay of his reluctant partner, Valerie. It is a well played scene by Simon Goodway and Kathy Manson which sets the stall for the rest of the evening.

It is quite clear from the off that the ethos of the troupe is to explore silliness and languish in the stupidly delightful. The focus is not on having the perfect singing voice rather than giving it a jolly good go and committing to the characters. This adds a lot of charm to the performance and gives the piece an everyman quality which is endearing to the viewer.

The scenarios that follow are all funny and wonderfully weird; including two men called Steve who are both legendary lotharios meeting to compare notes, one of which chooses a girlfriend solely on the basis that she looks constipated, which turns him on. The continued story of Kenneth who makes shrines out of Lego, dried pasta and paper mache for anyone his wandering attention is aroused by. Steve 2, while looking for fame at Butlins, unintentionally becomes a male prostitute, and much more. All fabulously silly and played out for maximum laughs.

The performers in Tea and Toast are seasoned improvisers with honed clowning skills which leads to many funny moments with the piece. Josh Hards is particularly funny in a scene where he has to do a “sexy” dance. Additionally his tap dance skit with Elena Kerrigan has the room in fits of laughter.

Samuel, as accompanying improvising pianist sets the mood well throughout the piece and is the secret weapon behind the group’s success.

This is first class improv comedy performed by improvisers at the top of their game. Well worth a watch.

Reviewed On 2nd June

The Reviews Hub Score

Joyful and Very Silly

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