Saturday, 25 July 2009

"House wine? What house? Council?!"

We turned out in force to watch the stage adaptation of Clayton Littlewood's Dirty White Boy at the tiniest theatre in the Trafalgar Studios complex last night - we were actually on the stage with the players!

Many people are already familiar with Mr Littlewood's award-winning tales of the weirdness that is day-to-day life in Soho's Old Compton Street - prozzies, trannies, rent boys, hustlers, eccentrics, hoodies, tramps and old queens - they started out as a blog on Clayton's MySpace page. And here, the sublimely talented David Benson and Clayton himself brought it all to an alarmingly engrossing form of reality.

Mr Benson (who wrote recently about his professional jealousy at the success of fellow Kenneth Williams impersonator Michael Sheen) is indeed a superb actor, with the ability to convincingly transform himself from the ageing queen Leslie (with his acid quips) into his long-lost knicker obsessive love Charlie (both of whom we think were in the audience!), to Angie proudly showing off her new lady bits, to the brothel madam upstairs, to Clayton's own boyf Jorge with a minimum of costume accoutrements.

Brilliant stuff, as Clayton (convincingly bemused by the experience) tracks the decline of his shop alongside the (often touching) stories of his most favourite customers.

With musical interludes by the superbly talented Maggie K de Monde (formerly with the band Swansway), we thoroughly enjoyed it - and according to Clayton, there may well be some more outings for this marvellous performance in the Autumn. I think I may well book again if it comes off...

After having a brief chat with Soho's fave decadent dandy Sebastian Horsley, at the kind invitation of Clayton himself we ventured to the Groucho Club (opposite the site of his shop, now a bear emporium called "DV8", and next to the sadly now closed Colony Club) - a venue that unsurprisingly we had never been to before. We were thrilled to be "on the list", but the thrill was slightly tarnished by the discovery that the after-party was actually in the suite adjacent to the karaoke room (an amateur "artform" I despise - my sister even suggested to Maggie that she might like to take their microphone and treat us to some proper singing instead, but I don't think she was in the mood)...

We had a great evening nonetheless - despite rumours to the contrary the drinks were not too expensive, even if the service was inevitably a bit crap. We spent time chatting to Clayton, Jorge, David, Maggie and their friends including author Kenneth Hill and the lovely and eccentric singer Al Pillay. We did a bit of star-spotting too, but I think it was "Z-list" night - Richard Bacon, Martin Degville, Hattie Hayridge, Aldo Zilli and what looked like they could be members of a cheap girl band like The Saturdays, but no-one was quite sure...

In all, a fantabulosa night!!

Anyway, here's an earlier stage adaptation of DWB from one of last year's Polari nights:


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