Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Miss Behave Gameshow - The Playhouse

Review by John Lombard

When the Miss Behave Gameshow began, the Playhouse audience was cool: receptive to being entertained, perhaps, but wearing the implacable neutrality of good public servants.

An hour later, one audience member was doing a cartwheel in the aisle, another was swinging a sock over his head like a mace, and one more had climbed onto the stage to plant a gentle kiss on the host.

The audience was roused to this frenzy through wicked jokes, a whip-crack pace, and the careful cultivation of an eternal rivalry: the gulf between the privileged few who own iPhones, and the rest of us.

The stage of the Playhouse was converted into an intimate theatre and bar for the show, appropriate for a performance that invited the audience to become part of the spectacle. This impromptu stage was deliberately tawdry with gold glitz, and festooned with crude cardboard signs scrawled with slogans like 'Don’t Ask Don’t Get', 'Life's Not Fair' and 'Black Lives Matter'.

Host Miss Behave (Amy Saunders, a disco-ball of gold sequins) led the audience in an anarchic fusion of game show and cabaret, with phone-themed tribes skirmishing in oddball challenges over non-prizes like a sanitary pad and a ‘Best of Bill Cosby’ record.

Adroit integration of phones with the show had audience members call Miss Behave's personal phone, take speed selfies, and even use phone torches to provide a spotlight.

Miss Behave always kept a heartbeat ahead of the audience, whether pelting it with Mentos, ambushing it with sneaky riddles, or teaching the unfairness of life by granting and stripping points with the zeal of a Hogwarts house master.

The funny and flexible Tiffany was the perfect assistant for Miss Behave, with a formidable high kick matched only by the lance-like points of his moustache.

While dependent on audience participation, the Miss Behave Gameshow did not put people on the spot or embarrass them, but instead gave an open invitation to join in, which most of the audience accepted.

With an ultimate message that victory often goes not to the strong or talented but to the hungry, the Miss Behave Gameshow found an unexpected sweet spot somewhere between cabaret, philosophical treatise, and political manifesto.

The Miss Behave Gameshow is brisk, anarchic fun: the kind of show that is best not as the climax of a night’s entertainment, but a spur to post-show hijinks.