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Monday, September 29, 2008


Good performances from Darren King and Marion Loudon make for a delightful evening’s entertainment. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Recently seen in a short run at the Rhumbelow Theatre was Tickled Pink, Darren King and Marion Loudon’s sequel to their A Touch of Pink which, unfortunately I never got to see. This was obviously my loss because, if the first show was anything like the sequel, I missed another enjoyable evening’s entertainment.

Tickled Pink pays tribute to the songs of artists who are gay icons and, as the press material states, “a tongue-in-cheek look at many of the questions surrounding a gay lifestyle”. The show also looks at artists who have all felt the benefit of the ‘Pink Rand’ with some fun patter and good music, including songs by Boy George, George Michael, Tammy Wynette, The Pointer Sisters and Madonna, to name a few – even Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland and Shirley Bassey.

The stage setting reflects more than just a touch of pink – with pink draping, outrageous chairs with pink feathers, decorated pouffes and the all-important prop box – also in pink, naturally! - for those quick accessory changes. With Marion in a hectic pink wig, the pair makes a dramatic entrance through a door covered with hearts (pink, of course) and the action is fast from that moment on. There’s a strong visual aspect to the show with a dizzying line-up of costume and wig changes!

Darren is, as always, the consummate entertainer and a good mover. The exciting aspect of the evening was to see how far Marion Loudon has progressed since the last production I saw her in. She is a perfect foil for Darren. Equally long-legged and with a stunning figure, she matches him dance-step by dance-step and her vocal range has matured and expanded considerably. From being an attractive and engaging entertainer, she has now become a major talent to content with on the local musical theatre front!

Numbers that really impressed me were the Cell Block Tango and Razzle Dazzle from Chicago as well as a poignant Cry Me a River.

Expect to hear We Are Family, All Cried Out, You Gotta Have Faith, Let Me Entertain You, a bubbly La Bamba and there was a skilful transition from Bang Bang to Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves. They quip that they’ve discovered how camp Country & Western music can be, proving this with a hilarious rendition of Working Nine to Five and Oh Lord, it’s Hard to be Humble with some traditional hoe-down choreography. We went through Sound of Music and Rocky Horror as well as YMCA and Raining Men but the most amusing highlight of all was Somewhat Over-Indulgent sung to the tune of Over the Rainbow!

I had a problem with the backing being too loud. I wish sound engineers would just close their eyes and see if they can hear the words of the songs before pushing buttons to reset levels. Too often there’s an imbalance with the backing tracks overshadowing the performers who sound as if they’re talking in “cottonwool language”, However, this is an old gripe as regular artSMart readers will know but it really bothers me when performers are articulating perfectly but they are at the mercy of technology.

That out of the way, this is a great show which deserves to be see in a longer run. – Caroline Smart