Let me be completely honest, and please forgive me as it would be a bit unfair to the lovely gentlemen from Slightly Fat Features. But, I don’t even like cabarets. However, I decided to spent my Friday evening on watching nothing but the cabaret itself. In the Christmas season, I felt a bit like the Grinch of comedy, ready to be that one person who is wearing glasses and turtleneck, continually commenting on everything with excessive use of quotes from Walter Benjamin. However, I was quite positively surprised.
The issue I faced was not only the fact that I am the complete opposite of a cabaret fan, but also that I was a Polish person at a British comedy performance. Don’t get me wrong, I hate Polish cabarets from the very bottom of my heart as well, as a true patriot. Although, as I was brought up on the constant reruns of the British 80s and 90s sitcoms, I was somewhat prepared. However, Slightly Fat Features presents a show that is approachable and almost entirely understandable even for a non-British person. The magic of comedy, as one would say.
The group consists of “the magnificent seven” that started its career in 2010 and based its idea on the Variety Show, a staple of British television from the late 1940s to the 1980s. An award-winning comedy troupe (brought by award-winning West End producer Mick Perrin Worldwide), Slightly Fat Features call their shows a “controlled chaos” that is “wonderfully funny”. This is the nature of variety shows, and as a member of the group, Goronwy Thom said: “It’s variety for the 21st century… funny, off-the-wall variety, but it’s still variety.” From live music, dance and songs, to circus and magic, you can expect everything and nothing. Hence, by popular demand, Slightly Fat Features came back to The Dukes for their seventh Christmas Cabaret.
Sceptically biased, I became slightly surprised. During those more than two hours, I laughed, believe it or not. Time passes by quickly, yet also awfully slowly when the comedians are looking for a “volunteer” from the audience. It’s an interactive performance to a certain extent, just like most of the traditional cabarets. It is, indeed, chaotic, but overall it only presents itself as inspired silliness. Bullet catching, dancing horse, acrobatic elephants, cling film escapology and sing-a-longs. And kids holding knifes ready to make a bloodbath out of a slightly fat gentleman. This show presented chaos but in a cabaret version. It’s hard to describe until you see it yourself; it’s everything, and nothing packed two not so long hours.
Comparing Slightly Fat Features to Monty Python is undoubtedly marketing exaggeration. The humour in it is merely funny, but sometimes it’s taking a bit too simple form, where the use of “primitive” to describe it could be an exaggeration to a certain extent. However, it would probably be liked by most of the people as there’s something for everyone. Without huge expectations, it is a perfect way to spend a casual evening.