Review: Time Out’s Alternative Eurovision @ Udderbelly

Petra Massey

“Hello – this is London calling. We had a wonderful night at Friday’s Alternative Eurovision with the cream of London’s burgeoning cabaret scene so with zip, zero and zilch further ado, here are our scores.”

No points (null points) to the night’s backroom staff. At least a third of the acts were affected by technical failure leading to some shambolic scenes. We can only assume that the usual crew were all confirmed friggatriskaidekaphobics and called in sick.

One point (un point) to Tom Bell (Belgium). Ophelia Bitz is a hard act for anyone to follow but his three-minute miming of recent adverts was every bit as bad as it sounds. We would rather have watched Jedward.

Two points (deux points) to Rayguns Look Real Enough. Imagine James Corden poured into a skintight PVC tiger outfit with the belly part cut out accompanied by James Blunt as they string together sub-Jive Bunny song snatches. Their enthusiasm and random cries of “Release The Tiger!” won over the crowd and led them to be crowned winners on the night.

Three points (trois points) to the hosts Toby Parks and Petra Massey of Spymonkey. There was some great comedy moments but the verbal banter erred on the repetitive (including countless mentions of “that’s a bit racist”). Having said that, Massey’s take on the patron saint of Eurovision – Sir Michael Terence Wogan – was spot on.

Four points (quatre points) to Dusty Limits (Croatia). His discobeat “Je Suis Eurostar” was the best tribute to the spirit of Eurovision and was typically absurd and awesome in equal measure. Bonus point for having the funniest dancers.

Five points (cinq points) to EastEnd Cabaret (Democratic Republic Of Armenetsjia). Sung like an eleventh commandment, “Stand Up And Touch Yourself” was awash with sexual single innuendos and suggestive moves. Make your own mind up here.

Six points (six points) each to La JohnJoseph (Greece) and Fancy Chance (Democratic Republic of North Korea). The tech gods weren’t on the side of either of these talented drag artistes but they both pulled off pitch-perfect physical paraprosdokians.

Seven points (sept points) to interval performers Up and Over It. Its a shame that we couldn’t vote for them as these hand-dancers were astounding and were the only act on the night to get a standing ovation.

Eight points (huit points) to Des O’Connor (Ireland). Nothing will beat recent Irish entries My Lovely Horse and Dustin The Turkey but, like the best of the night’s numbers, his folksy love ballad of Fred and Rosemary West went beyond the bounds of good taste and kept running onwards without ever looking over its shoulder. There was some very dark humour in this song but it never overshadowed the singing and biting lyrical wit.

Ten points (dix points) to Johnny Woo (Germany). Dressed to the ninety-nines in leather chaps, pickelhaube and teutonic ‘tache, his gloriously defiant song Faggot took every homophobic insult under the sun and made them into a stomping disco number. He strutted, he pouted and he took no prisoners.

And…

Finally…

(pause)

Twelve points (douze points) go to Ophelia Bitz (Vatican). We loved her act last year and this year she outdid herself. Dressed as His Holiness (if His Holiness was partial to ladywear under his surplice) and accompanied by three sexy nuns (burlesquers Allotta Bounce, Apple Tart and Dott Cotton), Bitz masterminded a bishop-bashing mini-show of balloons, condoms and 80s soft rock which made Saturday’s Moldovan entry look mundane. Did we mention the impromptu conga, giant crucifix-wielding axeman and her Catholic taste in the vintage porn which played above all this?

Honourable mentions go to Bourgeois and Maurice (Tanzania), Ginger and Black (Bethlehem), Sarah-Louise Young (Lithuania), Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer (Surrey) and Tina C (Austria).

Links

More Udderbelly events can be found on the official website.

For the latest and greatest cabaret recommendations in London, be sure to check out our weekly Cabaret Zingers.