Reviewer: Jo Beggs
After spending the Summer lounging, Mai Tai in hand, by the pool (at least that’s the way I like to imagine her) Mother is back in rainy Manchester sipping the sherry. Mother’s Ruin, the chaotic queer cabaret that started four years ago at the dearly departed greenroom, now celebrates two years in its second home – and if tonight is anything to go by, it’s going to outgrow it’s current space at Contact pretty soon.
Crammed into the foyer are a good couple of hundred people, a good natured crowd looking for a good night out. Magnificence abounds, towering drag queens in six-inch heels, hair-dos to die for, grandeur, glitter and glamour. Tim Redfern, aka Timberlina heads up the revelries as usual, kicking off the evening with a generous welcome and a handful of jokes – and then it’s on to a pacy programme of comedy, songs, politics (yes..politics) and general mayhem. There are a host of highlights. Sophie Willan’s catalogue of old ladies is a slice of heart-warming northern humour and her wiggle song complete with a whole lot of bottom shaking brings the house down. Willan is a clever, amiable comic, and an enthusiastic performer. She’s got herself a band who she may well have found busking on the street somewhere and coerced into coming along – and they’re great.
Gareth Cutter delivers a delightful fairytale about body hair, accompanied by some very sweet singing and great banjo accompaniment. Jonathan Mayor, interviewed by Timberlina, introduces a serious tone to the evening as he talks about equality and inequality in the LGBT community. Mayor, who we’re more used to seeing delivering a line in crushing, bitchy stand-up, proves himself to be a thoughtful yet forceful interviewee, covering everything gay – from bashing to marriage.
Final act David Mills touches on these themes too. The waspish American comedian starts badly with some tired regional jokes but then launches into a very funny run of LGBT material with some stuff on hipsters and the Scottish independence referendum thrown in. He occasionally teeters on the edge of offensive (a few intakes of breath from the crowd would suggest some think he goes too far) but his acidic wit and slick delivery win over the audience and he proves himself a fine addition to the Mother’s Ruin stable.
There are some misses in tonight’s line up – Rolabear doesn’t really take the audience with him with his comic songs and stand up, and Patrick Carroll-Fogg aka Venus Quasar delivers a set that feels out of place in this somewhat boisterous atmosphere (although he does look great!) – but that’s cabaret for you. There’s plenty more Mother’s Ruin to come over the winter months and it looks like, yet again, we’re in for some real treats.