Do what, John? Cough up 20 quid just for a ticket? It sounds a bit over the top I agree, but when you consider for that you get Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, Alan Price, Jon Anderson, Stephane Grappelli, Chas & Dave, Hot Gossip, the Not The Nine O'Clock News crew and the Alternative Cabaret bunch, then you might think twice about passing over 50 notes to that shady geezer for a night with the big Broooce.
And, despite the feeling that you were watching a speeded-up movie with images merely flashing before your eyes, "Fundamental Frolics" (described as a musical/comedy review in aid of Mencap, the charity for mentally handicapped people) was a bloody good night out for those who could afford it.
On with the show. The stage was a curious sliding affair done up as an aeroplane complete with silver propellers, and first to slide out was Ian Dury. The mainly middle-class audience really sent up the "hoorahs" for him as he cut the perfect figure of an East End gangster lurching round the Surrey commuter belt in his wide-brimmed hat and shades. Backed by the proficient SFX band, he gave a quick "Clever Trevor," "Spasticus Artisticus" and off he slid again.
On stalked Alexi Sayle, the heavyweight of the Alternative Cabaret set, with a series of body blows and sneering assaults on the middle class way of life. Like Dury, he's acquired noveau chic status but the audience seem to miss the fact that the humour is aimed at them and collapse at every expletive.
From street wise comics to that pub wise duo, Chas & Dave, who come out singing that song of theirs that sells beer on TV. The cockney capers follow this with a bar room, blues number and "Rabbit" before they too slide off into the darkness.
Next stop, via two more comedians, was Alan Price who dropped tha pace considerably. His old sixties hit "Simon Smith And His Dancing Bear" turned out to be a vocal solo because the piano didn't pick up on the amp; but this was made up by "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" where he was joined by the power and soul of Lynda Taylor.
And so the night continued with some tried and trusted sketches from the NTNOCN team, the derisive acid of the Alternative Cabaret, the soaring professionalism of Jon Anderson, through the cool and jazzy violin of Stephane Grappelli which had everyone peering out of the wings in genuine awe, the lushous lewdness of Hot Gossip and the superior Benny Hill wit of Neil Innes. Then came Elvis Costello.
He strolled on stage with a casual manner and an acoustic guitar to deliver and eerie and chilling performance. The texture of the couple of songs he sung were hinted at on the Trust album, but sounded more the inspiration of the current Nashville excursion and will presumably be included on his upcoming album.