Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Blink for Michael Jackson
The Rubiks Cube. That colourful seventies conundrum will have you in a puzzle from dawn till dusk. With all its twists and turns it will make you take, it has the ability to frustrate and elate. This retro toy has inspired art, music, and film, not to mention a young group of comedians.
The Rubiks is a comedy group that perform improvisational sketches based on audience suggestions. There are props, mini games, and full plays; with no script the possibilities are pretty much endless. You can see them for free every second Friday night at the Camden Head. Their show in June will have a spooky theme in honour of Friday the thirteenth, and start at 7.30pm.
As well as their regular residency at the eighteenth century pub, The Rubiks also make one off appearances. I went to see them at Leicester Square Theatre for a Night on the Cube.
As well as the theatre's Main House, where you will find all the big names and West End shows, there is also a lounge in the basement for smaller acts. At the entrance, the walls are filled with framed posters, and as you walk down the stairs, you'll be able to look at a gallery of black and white signed photos of actors from history. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and stained glass decorates the door.
This, however, is where the lavishness ends. Step inside, and you know that your are no longer on top of the social ladder. The decor is a working man's pub through and through: black carpeting, red velvet covered bar chairs, forest green doors, purple walls, and heavy navy curtains complete with stains. The Lounge has a small bar where you can order drink before the show starts. There is no stage, so the actors are performing at the same level as the audience. This creates an intimate setting just perfect for The Rubiks's interactive style. The only disadvantage is no tiered seating, meaning that anyone in the back row or behind someone tall, will have trouble seeing.
Fortunately I arrived early, so took a seat at front to avoid such problems. From here, I had excellent view, not only of the actors, but also of the props: pink guitars, fancy dress hats, a scooter, and yes indeed, a Rubiks Cube. While waiting, all sorts of ideas conjured up in my mind about the kind of suggestions I could make - Hobbits form a rock band, Barbie meets Superman, Mary Poppins loses her umbrella - like I said, the possibilities are endless.
At two minutes past nine precisely, Adam Courting shimmied out from behind the curtain. Wearing a dodgy neon tracksuit and half successful moonwalk, this was a precursor of things to come. After managing to get everyone's attention he announced, 'The show is not starting now. That's all I came to say.' He made a swift exit before returning moments later to explain that a large group of fifteen had yet to arrive, but were on their way, and then the show would begin. Quite how The Rubiks knew they were missing a quarter of their audience, let alone where they were, I'm not quite sure, but it shows that they were on the ball, and considerate to allow everyone to get there.
I, on the other hand, am slightly less forgiving, and was annoyed that they could not arrive on time. I was therefore pleased when the latecomers were announced, shamed, and given around of satirical applause when they came in.
The rest of the cast then bounded onto the floor and introduced themselves as James, Frankie, Oriana, Corrine, and Lauren. It was then the audience's turn to introduce themselves, so all together, we called out our names.
The show began with three mini games. The first was called 'New Line'. Corrine and Oriana were to act out a sketch, and every time James said 'new line', the would have to swap something they just said with something else. James asked us to name a place where you wouldn't want to go on a date. 'Hell!' someone called, 'Croydon!' came another. And so the show began.
Oriana - 'New line' - Dave finds himself in the the underworld for various sins. Before the Devil takes him down to the depths of hell - 'New line' - the depths of Croydon, Dave must confess his crimes. These include murder, shop lifting, and listening to Miley Cyrus.
It was pure gold.
The next game was called 'Special Guest', in which three of the actors pretended to be one person, and spoke one word at a time. An interview was based on an audience member's unexplored ambition to raise frogs, and someone else's fear of UKIP. The guest (who was without a doubt born in England), wrote a book about frogs (in English). Very enlightening.
The final game was 'Hypnosis'. James hypnotised Oriana, Adam, and Frankie to do an action or say a word based on what each other said and did. So based on audience suggestion, every time Adam said 'and', Oriana had to say 'dildo'. Every time Oriana said 'dildo', Frankie had to twerk. Every time Frankie blinked, Adam had to do a Michael Jackson impression.
This game did not work quite as well as it could have done. As you can imagine, blinking is very difficult not to do, so the entire sketch was basically nothing but Adam doing a Michael Jackson impression. Not the fault of Rubiks of course, but the fault of the audience.
The audience members - who had clearly had several drinks before hand - did kind of mess up some potentially good sketches. There was one guy with a very crude sense of humour, because whatever kind of suggestion James asked for, - occupation, emotion, etc - this guy only ever called out 'dildo'. Fortunately James ignored him for the most part, but a lot of other suggestions were equally sex related. Strangely enough there are other things in life that are funny. Apparently just not on a Friday night.
For the final part of the show, Rubiks acted out the first part of a play, and we got to decide which one they would finish. I personally would have gone for the one about a Gypsy, but 'Dave, the Disappointed Fundraiser' won out. The play took a very strange turn indeed, becoming some kind of pulp fiction detective mystery about stolen money, featuring a cameo from Dr. Frankenstein's hunchback assistant, Igor (A.K.A. Rupert). It was odd, bizarre, and made no sense whatsoever, but it was also very funny.
The Rubiks is this generation's version of Whose Line is it Anyway?, and is light hearted amusement for anyone not wishing to tax their brains with too much cultural entertainment before the weekend.