Nostalgia isn’t what is used to be but Duckie’s experimental pop-art-performance show The Readers Wifes Fan Club gives us a taster of what is what like at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern for the pre-YouTube generation. Written by regular RVT DJs, the Readers Wifes (sic) and starring Dickie Beau, Ryan Styles and Jess Love, RWFC drops us deep behind enemy lines, starting off in the ’70s, the era that taste forgot (or fails to recall for some reason).
A clever conceit running through the show is physical karaoke – contemporary songs, answering machine messages or documentary clips are played on video screens or over the PA while the performers mime the dialogue and act accordingly, usually to hilarious effect. There’s a Terry Blackburn-era Top Of The Pops countdown namechecking gay icons and RVT regulars and we get to sing along to Suede, Slade, Yazoo and David Bowie. Australian circus performer Jess Love showed off her hula hoop skills (for which she has a world record), Ryan Styles resurrects Regina Fong’s Skippy routine and Dickie Beau crawls atop the highest podium (a few feet from the ceiling) to give us Dorian Corey’s emotive speech from Paris Is Burning.
There’s a decent mixture of weirdness and crowd-pleasing. In one section, a performer has a box placed on their head; projected onto the box are a series of faces while an audio track goes into deep detail on the surgical mechanics of a male-to-female sex change; minutes later we’re rocking out to Cum On Feel The Noize.
RWFC is a history lesson par excellence done with style, guile and truckloads of humour. The last show is tonight so if this sounds like your idea of a Friday night, you can get more information here. Tickets are £9.99 and doors open at 8pm.
Some action from the show: