Nudity, Offal, Pissing, Heckling: A Fitting Tribute To Malcolm Hardee

By Stuart Black Last edited 34 months ago
Nudity, Offal, Pissing, Heckling: A Fitting Tribute To Malcolm Hardee ★★★★★ 5
10 Years On: The Malcolm Hardee Show at Up the Creek, Greenwich 
Photo©Warren King Photography
The balloon dance. Photo Warren King.
Terry Alderton as Malcolm Hardee. Photo Tunnel Films.
Terry Alderton as Malcolm Hardee. Photo Tunnel Films.
10 Years On: The Malcolm Hardee Show at Up the Creek, Greenwich 
Photo©Warren King Photography
Jayde Adams. Photo Warren King.
10 Years On: The Malcolm Hardee Show at Up the Creek, Greenwich 
Photo©Warren King Photography
Candy Gigi. Photo Warren King.
10 Years On: The Malcolm Hardee Show at Up the Creek, Greenwich 
Photo©Warren King Photography
Martin Soan - he's kindly pixelated himself to avoid causing offence. Photo Warren King.
10 Years On: The Malcolm Hardee Show at Up the Creek, Greenwich 
Photo©Warren King Photography
Spencer Jones dismembers a baby. Photo Warren King.
Bob Slayer and 'volunteer'. Photo Tunnel Films.
Bob Slayer and 'volunteer'. Photo Tunnel Films.
10 Years On: The Malcolm Hardee Show at Up the Creek, Greenwich 
Photo©Warren King Photography
John Robertson. Photo Warren King.
Backhanded cheek. Photo Tunnel Films.
Backhanded cheek. Photo Tunnel Films.

Londonist Rating: ★★★★★

“It feels like Malcolm’s spirit is in the building,” says organiser Adam Taffler as we gaze around the candle-lit, red velvet-draped comedy club, Up The Creek. This warm, fuzzy remark comes only minutes before the night’s first act, Martin Soan, struts on-stage stark naked and attempts to urinate all over the front row.

Taffler was right then: the spirit of Malcolm Hardee is indeed with us.

The legendary compere died 10 years ago and this memorial gig aims to celebrate his anarchist tendencies by bringing together his old friends with some of the more outré acts on the circuit today. But Soan, who used to perform with Hardee, is not going to be over-shadowed. He sets the bar very high (or low?) when he closes his eyes and says: “Whether anyone’s there or not, I am going to piss here.”

Thankfully, he’s suffering a touch of ‘stage-fright’, which gives the screaming punters just enough time to scramble away into the wings where they then watch as a technician comes out and sloshes two glasses of water into each other by way of encouragement. And while Soan squints in concentration, trying to form a mental image of Niagara Falls no doubt, we wonder whether there might not be free seats somewhere toward the back.

There is much more comic-horror on the menu. Before the night is over, a bag of mystery offal is emptied over one comic’s head, at least five acts are booed off-stage practically in tears (the hecklers from the Tunnel Club are here en masse) and we also get a 10-person rendition of Hardee’s famous balloon dance.

If that latter element sounds like something from a children’s party, be assured: it’s not. Honestly, it’s hard to say exactly what the original objective of this sketch was, basically we get nine nude men (and one game woman) covering their giblets with balloons which pop or deflate until there’s nothing left to hide, at which point the performers move in on anyone in the audience who isn’t quick enough to escape.

Phew — this was what alternative cabaret was meant to be like: alarming and hilarious in equal measure. Some acts storm it – notably Candy Gigi (who brushes her teeth with a toilet brush), Spencer Jones (a cross between Mr Bean and Mr Punch), Owen O'Neill (reminiscing about Malcolm), Jayde Adams (who uses opera to offend), Aussie John Robertson with his ‘box of possibly meat,’ and Bob Slayer who rubs that meat over his own head and also on the lucky volunteer who he makes dress up as Freddie Mercury.

On compere duty, Terry Alderton holds the chaos together as well as he can, wearing a black wig and glasses so he can channel Hardee, right down to the laughs between the catchphrases and a few vintage incest jokes with the great man’s sister Clare (who also leads a wonderfully inept 'can’t-can’t' dance).

Among those humiliated for the crowd’s delight was a young chap who staggered through his woeful routine and a song before saying “I need a finale,” only to get the answer “Stick your head in an oven!” It was the kind of night comedy nerds will say they attended. There'll be another one next year, which is hopefully just as nuts. You have enough time to buy a raincoat.

All funds raised yesterday will go towards documentary film All The Way From Over There about Malcolm Hardee's life.

Last Updated 03 February 2015