The Recs resisted their slippers and dressing gown and took a night off from having a 10pm Ovaltine to see a very late showing of The #Joeshow (the hashtag is silent) at the King’s Head Theatre.
His “one-twink show” promises traditional aspects of LGBT+ cabaret with niche musical theatre, original musical comedy, phenomenal piano skill and glitteringly outrageous outfits and he’s certainly halfway there with most of that.
As the runner-up of It’s a Knockout and Drag Idol, and the winner of Drag at the Stag, #Joe has been performing around the country since 2018, and has been developing his unique act which certainly gives its audience a giggle or two, but whether a 10:30 show in a fringe theatre is the right venue for #Joe’s act, is debatable. With a theatrical setting designed for sitting quietly and watching live performance art, #Joe’s show needs more in terms of interaction and perhaps a busy bar or drag scene might have been more appropriate.
With an abundancy of charm and charisma, #Joe is, on paper, the perfect cabaret act, and this is reinforced by his true musical skill in playing the piano, bashing out self-written song after song all from memory. Whilst we give him A for effort, regrettably some of the content of #Joe’s songs have room for improvement, as whilst the musical comedy style which #Joe is emulating is very much the style of the late Victoria Wood, it sadly lacked the true genius of her writing. Nothing a great co-writer couldn’t fix!
Part of the issue seems to come from the storyline, #Joe’s life-story to be exact, which for someone who is a self-confessed twink and with all due respect isn’t at the age to be writing biographies full of hilarious life experiences, meaning each story was missing some of the depth needed to create more humour from his tales. Even the best comedians have to try their material outside of their bedroom on a public audience and not be precious in disposing of it if the reaction isn’t to standard.
His toe dipping into poetry was a nice bit of variation mid-show and certainly unexpected, but interestingly it was this piece of his writing which landed best for us and felt the most authentic, as much of his witty lyrics during song were sometimes lost in their delivery.
#Joe’s most impressive party trick doesn’t come from his musical or comedy skills, but in the form of reciting Pi (π) to 200 decimal places… at pace! It was really quite something and left us wondering how that level of memory strength could be better placed in his performances, perhaps how the great Gary Wilmot does each year in the Palladium pantomime, reciting every tube station or chocolate bar to a musical theatre style jingle… it brings the house down every year!
That kind of skill and talent takes a certain person and #Joe clearly has it, so with the right artistic support from a good director and the right material, #Joe could easily take the cabaret scene by storm and have an enormous future as one of the UKs best queer artists.
We can’t wait to see what he does next!
A for effort but #Joe still has some way to #go – ★★★ (Three stars)