House of Blakewell’s House Party is a weird one hour show by duo Harry Blake and Alice Keedwell. It’s a musical revue based on every tired party you’ve been to in Peckham, where the hipsters like their beards full and the crowd are checking their smartphones while trying to work out if anyone is worth chatting up to advance their flailing career in the creative industries. It’s also a great deal of fun and very silly, mixing truth games, shots, tap dancing and lyrics about “drinking till our standards drop” sung riotously by the whole audience.
It’s a testament to the songs, comedy and dance that the show never flags for a single minute. Energy remains high, and through the desolation of a failed party by two people trying too hard to be something they are not, the audience is taken on an emotional journey to a moment of ultimate redemption. Cabaret has never been cool. No one got laid in school by being the best tap dancer. Thankfully as adults we can recognise that there are far more of us who are uncool than cool in the real world and we’re more interesting because of it. This is a show that celebrates the parts of ourselves we’re not terribly proud of, but make us all the more human. It is the comedy of awkward, in inherently British style and there are definitely elements of The Office, or the likes of David Mitchell, wound up in the characterisation.
Audience interaction is a major part of the show, “guests” being brought up for a mock wedding, being roped into listless banter and playing a large game of I have never. Incidentally, for a full audience only five people claimed they hadn’t had sex in a public place. Whether that’s representative of all Londoners I’m unsure, but there is certainly a camaraderie in group shaming followed by vodka that warms your heart.
The show has been part of various fringe festivals in the past, including Edinburgh and Brighton and has a confidence about it’s presentation. New production We Can Make You Happy – will be premiered here for a week at the end of February. On the basis of tonight almost anything could happen. These two will make you sing, laugh, dance and make you feel slightly better about the world. Highly enjoyable.
House Of Blakewell return to the Vaults with We Can Make You Happy from 25 February-8 March.
House Of Blakewell’s House Party. The Vaults, Leake Street, London. 28 January. www.vaultfestival.com
Image: Richard Devenport