By NICOLE EVANS
It wouldn’t be right to see through Latitude Festival without doing a stint in the Cabaret tent and Friday afternoon feels like a good time to take up a spot under the canopy to see what it has to offer us this year.
First of the two acts up, and taking their seats on the b-stage, is comedic piano duo, Flo and Joan – British-born, Toronto-based sisters who are attempting to rock the comedy-cabaret scene with their original vocal pieces.
From It’s Alright, a humourous take on all of life’s slight faux pas and those awkward thoughts you aren’t allowed to admit, to the longest song about all of Legless Lady Linda’s attributes that begin with an ‘L’, it’s laugh-a-second material executed with style and smiles throughout.
Quick, witty and successful in lulling an unsuspecting audience into chanting “boobies”, the pair have an air of Fascinating Aida about them and ooze hilarity throughout their too-brief set.
Arriving on the main stage before Flo and Joan have even stepped off their podiums is Steve McNeil; best known for being Team Captain on Dara O’ Briains Go 8 Bit, and King Tom; so-called Wi-Fi extraordinaire presenting Wi-Fi Wars – the record-breaking videogame gameshow where the entire audience plays along via smartphones or tablets.
After being technically directed on how to log on by our hosts, the two teams are picked and it’s Feel The Farce vs Badass Badgers as the games begin. Starting lightly with a little Pong and a simple push of a button by way of deciding which way the paddle needs to move next, Badass Badgers take the lead and look to be the stronger team.
Over the course of the hour, the games get progressively harder for the participants, with everything from Snake to memory games, and progressively more technical from a production point of view, eventually culminating in a 3D, first-person shoot out and an interactive virtual reality fly around being sent directly to our phones. Badass Badgers reign victorious and leave Feel the Farce choking in their dust and the sense of teamwork and achievement echo in the cheers and taunts from one team to the other.
It’s fabulously funny and an incredibly enjoyable way to spend an hour although it doesn’t quite go without a hitch. The sharing of such large amounts of data with so many people (150 at one count) caused a good number of us to be booted out and therefore having to log back in under a different name – not so helpful when there’s an overall scoreboard and a wind-up Kermit to be won. A few people give up part way through in frustration which sadly takes away from the overall impression of Wi-Fi Wars being something really impressive. It’s far from a let-down but certainly needs perfecting.
A perfectly pleasing couple of hours. Both well worth catching if they come to a town near you, just remember your charging block.
Latitude Festival runs from 13 – 16 July 2017 at Henham Park, Suffolk