The 8th Musical Comedy Awards – The Winner is…
12th April 2016
The Musical Comedy Awards recently celebrated its 8th year and is a competition that I’ve been personally following since back in 2010. Abandoman were the stand out winners that year and it was pretty obvious that they were destined for big things. If you know comedy, you know that they can sell out tickets in just about any room, anywhere. They are a true force of nature on the comedy circuit and a must see act if you are yet to experience their unique brand of hip hop free styling.
Other favourites of mine that I’ve been first introduced to at The Musical Comedy Awards include the extraordinary Frisky And Manish, the superbly clever Jay Foreman and the hugely likeable and charming Mae Martin. Again, all acts that have built credible and successful careers off the back of the competition’s invaluable launch pad.
This year I was honoured to be asked to be on the judging panel to decide the Musical Comedy Awards winner for 2016; Who stood out this year in Saturday night’s sell out final at the 400 seat Underbelly on the Southbank?
Firstly, enormous credit has to go to the night’s superb compere, Tina Turner Tea Lady. She’s a rock star turned tea lady character act – it’s as bizarre as it sounds – who was actually in the final of the competition herself back in 2013 and has developed into an enormously accomplished character artist over the past few years. To hold an audience’s attention for over 2 hours is a terrifically difficult thing to do, but she had the crowd totally with her from minute one right up to the point where she delivered her own closing head line set. First class.
What about the competitors themselves? Well, from the hundreds that initially entered there were 6 acts in the competition’s final, with the overall standard being as good as I have ever seen it, but the winners, Four Femmes On The Thames, really shone on the night. Imagine four sassy, 1940’s style cabaret and jazz singers, singing beautifully pitched numbers that are smart, engaging and wholly inappropriate all at once and you’re at least on your way to imagining their unique and uplifting performance.
I’ve seen them twice do the same set of 3 songs, so it will be really interesting to see how they work on holding an audience’s attention for a full one hour show, but if they can keep the same level of quality across another 6 or 7 songs then they could well be at the start of something really special.
The Musical Comedy Awards will start all over again in early 2017 and I’d urge you to go, not just to the final itself, but also to the Saturday afternoon heats along the way. You really will have a good chance of being able to say that ‘You were there’ at the beginning of someone’s comedy career. Look closely and you’ll find me sat somewhere on the middle rows.