The Simpsons has been a staple of family entertainment for as long as I can remember, having now run for an impressive thirty-two seasons since 1989. And for anyone who has tuned in over the years, you will notice that the creatives behind the animation are fairly fond of a musical number or two. So, it’s a perfectly reasonable road which has lead Carrot (a drag artist who describes themself as a non-binary space vegetable) to create an evening of Cabaret inspired by the world’s favourite yellow family.
Phoenix Arts Club, a venue which has kept itself hidden from me over the years, instantly welcomes you with its warmth and dimmed lighting. Walking in from the rainy streets of SOHO and down the stairs, I feel as though I’ve stumbled into a New York Speakeasy. The seating is distinctly Cabaret with guests placed on individual tables throughout the intimate venue, whilst web-ordered table service and social distancing makes it COVID secure.
There is a distinctly cheeky vibe from the audience, much like a flock of women out for a Hen Night, intent on cheering and raucous laughter. Though as the show begins, we are comically reminded that any loud vocality from the audience is strictly forbidden so as not to spray aerosols of COVID droplets about the space, though noise can be made in other ways to show our appreciation.
A Night In Springfield features everybody’s favourite Simpsons characters, only a little more fabulous than we remember them from our TV sets. Lisa (Carrot) opens the show with a hilarious number showing her feminist persona in full swing, she also later closes the show in … well I guess in ‘full swing’ too. Krusty (Ella The Great) delivers an avant-garde performance of clown comedy, involving spinning plates, a unicycle and some missed technical cues. Patty and Selma (Heather Duster and Plattapussy) come out in full force as the terrible duo, cigarette butts stuffed into their wigs and ash falling all over the place. And not forgetting, in a virtual performance projected onto stage, Marge (Choriza May) who shows off her gorgeous new Chanel suit, over and over, until there wasn’t much left. Though the highlight of the night comes with Ned Flanders (Ginger Tart), who tries his hand at Burlesque! Enough said there.
Through lip-sync, live performances, clown comedy, dance routines, music videos and – well -–Ned Flanders’ fig leaf, this show leaves us in stitches all night. The tongue-in-cheek approach brings the audience onboard immediately and creates a clear sense of community. Not just as LGBTQ+ or as Simpsons fans, but as humans surviving these times and continuing to explore, to experience joy and laughter and to keep the arts alive in all of its colourful forms.
A Night in Springfield will return the Phoenix Arts Club 24 November. For more information and to book tickets, visit the Phoenix Arts Club website.