Monday, 17 December 2018

Knife to see you, to see you knife

TO the Kenton Theatre for a sold-out benefit in aid of the Nepalese earthquake victims.

TO the Kenton Theatre for a sold-out benefit in aid of the Nepalese earthquake victims.

Last week’s

Henley Standard
carried the news that the Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment would be in attendance — just days before Gurkhas were due to mark 200 years of service to the British crown.

What your reviewer hadn’t anticipated was that the Nepalese visitors would also come close to stealing the show with their knife dance.

The knife in question, of course, was the famous kukri â?? or khukuri, spelled in full.

Performed by a team of four, the synchronised display called to mind the Maori haka as popularised by the All Blacks rugby team.

At times moving as one facing the audience, they thrust their kukris forward and then to the side, showing the weapon to its full advantage. Next they formed up in two pairs, each of which mimed a carefully choreographed (but not overly elaborate) fight.

It was a short display, but effective. Like a kukri itself.

By that stage in the evening the audience had been more than warmed up by some effervescent numbers from folk-esque duo Freada, cleverly named trio The Diminished Quartet, and Mollie Marriott — who laughingly warned the audience that everyone involved in the show had just been treated to a spicy regimental curry.

Maybe that was what fired the performers up, but I don’t think so.

Freada’s third song was an early highlight following a slightly uncertain start (“We’ve never had the curtains open before!”).

The Diminished Quartet were simply a class act. You could imagine them on stage at the height of the Jazz Age almost 100 years ago.

The groove they established was picked up by Mollie Marriott and her accompanying guitarist Johnson Jay Medwick-Daly.

Co-written with Judie Tsuke and Graham Kearns, second track

Trouble and Shame
bodes extremely well for Marriott’s as yet untitled debut album due out later this year. (Maybe that’s the album title right there?)

Movingly, Megan Henwood opened with

Hope on the Horizon
, which she said had been written on one of her past visits to Nepal.

It was left only for a nine-piece Nubiyan Twist to close out the show. Despite being three men down, they were top-notch. Like the night as a whole, then.

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