mon 15/07/2024

Jazz Emu, Soho Theatre review - delightfully daft musical spoof | reviews, news & interviews

Jazz Emu, Soho Theatre review - delightfully daft musical spoof

Jazz Emu, Soho Theatre review - delightfully daft musical spoof

Archie Henderson's louche creation

Jazz Emu, aka Archie Henderson, ex-Cambridge FootlightsDavid Monteith-Hodge

Jazz Emu bounds on to the stage, launching into a song that talks about the importance of team work and how he has no ego. But strangely enough, Knight Fever is all about him, a Jarvis Cocker-esque synthpop charmer.

He tells us we are gathered not in the basement room of the Soho Theatre, but in an underground storage room of the Royal Albert Hall, where he will later perform at a royal variety show. The only star allowed to rehearse on the actual stage is his nemesis, the “pure evil” Kelly Clarkson.

What follows is a wonderfully silly hour that ranges from the surreal to the bonkers. Through music, video inserts and gags we learn of Jazz Emu's obsession with the American singer, his never-ending conversation with Siri on his smartphone, the weirdness of Netflix algorithms, and even a spam email set to music. Cameo appearances on video by fellow comics Sam Campbell and Will Hislop add to the mix.

The framing device of Knight Fever – that Jazz Emu is desperate to be given the only knighthood awarded by the King this year, and is afraid Clarkson will snaffle it – is laughably shonky but shores up what might otherwise be an hour that adds up to less than the sum of its parts. It certainly  shows the character's online origins, as some of the songs and skits appear only loosely connected.

Jazz Emu is the creation of Archie Henderson (ex-Cambridge Footlights) and the character – an egomaniac with zero self-awareness – is delivered with verve and not a little musical talent (the songs are played by him and a funky four-piece band, Cosmique Perfectión). The accent – louche, mid-Atlantic – occasionally wavers but the gags keep coming. Daft but a lot of fun.

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