Reviewer: Julie Burrow
Mr B.The Gentleman Rhymer’s show current show at The Lowry Studio, is a fun, friendly and charming affair and doesn’t disappoint.
Mr B,’s motivation is to ‘introduce Hip-Hop to the Queen’s English’, merging the two to produce Chap-Hop. With topics such as his Surrey roots ‘Straight Out Of Surrey’and a protest against pipe smoking prohibition ‘Let Me Smoke My Pipe’ alongside a hip-hop/Chap-hop history lesson and musings on celebrity culture, the show is an eclectic mix of his older favourites and newer tracks.
The songs are broken up by witty addresses to the audience and the atmosphere is very relaxed. The audience are invited to sing along with refrains and, as several of the songs sample well known hooks, it is easy to find yourself regularly joining in. One lucky member is even invited to ad-lib on the end of a track. All in all, the experience is thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable.
In fact, Mr B. did very well at creating this atmosphere considering the space didn’t lend itself to the show. As he stood downstage of the black box studio, one couldn’t help remembering previous gigs at other venues where the audience could stand and observe his Banjolele skills and comic gestures more clearly. Looking down at the stage from tiered seating, it feels like you can’t fully appreciate his act. However, Mr B.’s comic interludes ensured that we were very much part of the show.
The Poorly Planned Tour’s unique selling point is Mr B. himself and the fact that there is no other act quite like him. From his comic facial expressions to his Charleston-esque hip-hop fusion dance moves, he is a strangely believable character who you absolutely buy into. Whether seeing him for the first time and spending a moment just talking it all in or an established fan, his performance provides everything you expected, along with a good few things you couldn’t have.
Reviewed on 29th June 2014