Music Hall Monster: The Insatiable Mr. Fred Barnes is a comedy show inspired by the real-life music hall singer who fell from the stars due to his addictions: alcohol, sex and audience appraisal.
There are piano songs, top hats and canes but do not expect a classic cabaret with a dark twist. Presented by Christopher Green, the award-winning actor delivers a witty performance that is primarily auto-biographical. He draws parallels between Fred Barnes’ struggles and his own.
Playing the role of a tortured artiste who repeatedly forgets his cues and goes off-piste as he reaches the end of his rope, he wonders if ‘it time to press the f*** it button?’. Existential questions dance tongue-in-cheek.
Constantly breaking the fourth wall, Christopher skilfully jumps from Fred, to himself, to the audience as he asks them how the play should progress. It feels off-the-cuff and impromptu, sometimes even a little muddled yet every movement is carefully thought out and precisely executed. The presence of the endearing narrator/pianist is a lovely addition to keep the storyline in check. We forgive a certain self-indulgence because the protagonist is refreshingly frank and transparent about his own psychology as a stage performer.
The Wilton Music Hall offers the perfect setting for a dilapidated character whose rawness, magic and charm is somewhat spellbinding.
This interactive show is sure to keep you laughing from start to finish, even during the interval!
Olivier-award winning Christopher Green Music Hall Monster: The Insatiable Mr Fred Barnes runs from the 2nd till the 12 May 2018.
Words by Elizabeth Robert