Scarlet SoHandsome and Fiends – also feat. Declan Kennedy

I was very curious about seeing Scarlet SoHandsome and Fiends (Mash House 2100). I have a few friends who are Trans and have been on nights out to pubs, clubs and events where there have been drag acts and the majority of them are pale imitations of Lilly Savage, engaging in bitchy put downs, but not really developing any kind of show beyond this. I was curious to see which direction Scarlet took her act.

Scarlet is an imposing figure and radiates control. She commands attention and not just because of the striking way in which she is dressed (colour co-ordinated from hair down to shoes, including accessories, until a quick change in dress when her guest act was on). Instead, this is because she is totally aware of everything within the room and doesn’t miss a trick.

She began with audience work, asking the usual questions, name, job and location – essentially the ASL of the comedy world. Frequently when someone had something interesting to say, she would glide into the audience and take a seat close to them and engage them on what was almost a one to one level, taking the degree of interrogation deeper. Although there were a few cutting put downs, these were far from her stock in trade. Instead she had material that tied in to whatever people had to say and she never had to rely on the tired expedient of a shoulder shrug and saying, ‘No. Nothing on that.’ The material, banter and ad libs flowed in such a natural way that if I hadn’t known that the flat mate routine was material, then I’d have been convinced that she had ad libbed the whole section in response to the drugs nurse being present. There were, however, some genuine ad libs, such as canesten and DJ, which evidenced a quick wit. This was a splendid show and I’d like to see more of Scarlet on the circuit.

Scarlet’s special fiend tonight was Declan Kennedy, who in marked contrast, was dressed a lot less glamorously. He had some nice material, such as his worrying of the people downstairs, the BNP as a tribute band, Alan Sugar and the reveal on beach body wasn’t what I was expecting. However, despite being an affable presence, he had no big hits and remained quietly enjoyable, like a good innings in a test match that is nevertheless heading towards an inevitable draw.

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