Miss Behave’s Gameshow Divides And Conquers

Miss Behave’s Gameshow, London Wonderground ★★★★★

Franco Milazzo
By Franco Milazzo Last edited 39 months ago
Miss Behave’s Gameshow Divides And Conquers Miss Behave’s Gameshow, London Wonderground 5
Miss Behave in action. Photo by Dan Govan.

To call Miss Behave’s Gameshow a gradual descent into the kind of ecstatic anarchy rarely seen outside nursery classrooms would be a gross misnomer; it is a fast descent. On the opening night of this year’s London Wonderground run, we saw nudity, comedy and no end of swearing — and that was just from the punters. How something this much fun hasn’t been criminalised yet is a minor miracle.

The eponymous host can arguably lay claim to being the UK queen of cabaret. As a vaudeville performer, she ascended from the streets to appearing in the Olivier Award-winning La Clique and in the US’s The Tonight Show. Along the way, she has produced her own variety nights at The Roundhouse and beyond. Decades after starting out, her star still shines as bright as any of her peers thanks to this wonderfully bonkers production.

Her Gameshow’s formula is a simple one. With the able assistance of Harriet, her aide-de-camp (emphasis on camp), and occasional interruptions for variety acts, Miss Behave begins by dividing the audience into two teams and then plays a series of games with the audience. Many of these challenges are based around phones and some come with prizes. The set itself couldn’t be more lo-fi if it tried with its scatter of cardboard props. So far, so normal. More tea, vicar?

What actually happens within that setup is, at times, literally incredible. Given how notoriously reserved the British are and how infamously hard-to-please Londoners are, the chaos and cacophony that this show generates is both astounding and a huge compliment to the team behind it.

On stage, Miss Behave rolls out challenges with titles like 'Punter or Munter' and 'Sanitary Sayings' while down in the pews there is no end of jumping, shouting and other behaviour that would be frowned upon down at the church hall: in an effort to get a point for his team, one gentleman voluntarily left the safety of his seat, ascended the stage and proceeded to strip naked. Where are you going, vicar?

You won’t see this show on TV and, despite its reliance on mobiles, you won’t catch much of it on social media. As part of a cabaret scene which is defined by its desire to defy definitions, Miss Behave’s Gameshow is in the vanguard of a revolution that will not be televised.

Miss Behave’s Gameshow returns to the London Wonderground on 18 and 25 September. Tickets are from £15 including £1 booking fee. More information can be found on the London Wonderground website. Londonist attended on a complimentary press ticket.

Last Updated 15 September 2015