‘Life is a Cabaret’ according to Liza Minelli, which I believe is not completely accurate. Thankfully life is not quite as weird as most of the things I witnessed at Jackson’s Lane on Friday night.
To kick off the Postcard’s Festival this was an evening showcasing the various artists that will be performing between now and 31st July. Compered by the character of a newly crowned ‘Queen Francesca’ (good name) it was a host of snippets from performances, hoping to impress us enough to purchase a ticket.
It seems like a strange thing to review, especially as a lot of what I saw didn’t seem to reflect what the performer’s shows would actually contain.
The entire evening was fractured, and felt more like a student revue than a professional evening of cabaret. We were shuffled around various parts of the space, and had to stand in the bar for most of the evening. I would have been irritated had I paid for a ticket.
The entertainment comprised at first mostly of jugglers and performance artists. And there’s only so many times you can forgive a juggler for dropping his balls. It was like a live episode of Britain’s Got Talent, but there was no way of buzzing the contestants off.
Thankfully the best acts were saved till last. We were ushered into the main space to watch some gasp-inducing acrobatics. Carried out with absolute confidence, this portion of the evening was a success and had me watching through my fingers as performers flung themselves around with no safety ropes, a good ten feet in the air.
The stand out snippet came from Metta Theatre, who gave us five beautiful minutes of physical theatre. Simple and understated, they allowed their own physicality to tell a story and, unlike many of the others, I wanted to see more. Also excellent were the final act, Collectif and then… who elevated an already impressive aerial act with comedy and audience participation.
This was a very strange evening; I wasn’t sure why the entire thing wasn’t conducted in the theatre. You couldn’t relax and enjoy the acts because we were sat on floors or standing and craning our necks to see. Performers who needed space were cramped into the foyer stage, and some of them simply didn’t deliver. However I’m sure this doesn’t reflect on the calibre of performance at the Postcard’s Festival, and I still trust Jackson’s Lane to provide us with quality acts. It’s just a shame the evening wasn’t better thought out.
The Postcards Festival is playing at Jacksons Lane until 31st July. For more information on all the shows in the festival and to book tickets see the website here.