The brilliant stand-up comic Stewart Lee does an entire routine about an interview he once conducted with filmmaker Ang Lee, the director of the film Hulk. In it, Lee cracks a joke about how, when making Hulk, the director must have used the line ‘you won’t like me when I’m Ang Lee’ which the director spectacularly fails to understand. In Lee’s inimitable style, confusion ensues and the interview ends shambolically.
Well, our own director for the evening might not have a name that sounds loosely like a catchphrase from the show he is directing, but it is fair to say that Steve arrived at the Singing Jam last night with a ‘you won’t like me when I’m Ang Lee’ face on. To be honest, at times it was quite scary, particularly when he likened his disciplinarian stance to that of the Nazis (an irony, coming from someone who is about as far from the perfect Aryan man as you could imagine – no offence, of course).
For those of us novices still coming to terms with the whole idea of improvisation, arriving at a Jam to be told that it is going to be ‘hard’ isn’t ideal. Then to discover that it may involve a lot of singing and dancing nearly did for me before the warm-up, I’ll be honest. Still, the theme of the evening, “Fuck Your Fear” seemed particularly apt, particularly by the end when groups of people were trying to sing alternative words to the tune of the William Tell Overture and The Final Countdown, one word at a time.
From an early “new game” (read: old game with a new name) which examined sandcastle insurance requirements and the joy of seafront abortions, Nasty Steve controlled the Jam with a rod of iron. Failing to accurately reproduce a scene involving a lot of drunken slags with fewer participants resulted in some critique, as did the lack of communication offered by individuals who WEREN’T EVEN ALLOWED TO BLOODY SPEAK. Harsh, perhaps.
And then, the singing began.
Necrotised testicles, the duality of song and rape and the biblical story of Jesus and the juggling artichokes seemed to lighten Steve’s spirits, and a majestic ensemble performance of the Bonobo with the Oboe ended the evening with panache.
I’ll be honest, I like the Nice Steve better.