St George’s Day Charity Lunch
The St. George’s Day Charity Luncheon is fast becoming a must, on the Brighton & Hove social scene. The one day of the year where a touch of nationalism can be greeted and respected, without turning into a Nuremberg rally. Hence the need for typical British humour, with the ability to laugh at ourselves and an up lifting chorus of song to inspire. All this in conjunction with Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday, celebrated with the customary toast in her honour.
The entertainment was traditionally varied, with three sets of songs, beautifully delivered by classically trained Donna-Marie. Who was equally at ease with leading everyone in ‘Abide With Me’, as she was with her own performance of ‘Jerusalem’. Accompanied by waving flags, setting a wonderful colour and experience in the room. Donna was also encouraged to put together a rendition of hits by David Bowie; in tribute to the passing of this great international pop star. “I’m rather nervous” she confessed, but no need. Because the musical arrangement accompanying her classically trained voice, gave a wonderful different interpretation to some of his best hits; including ‘Space Odyssey’, underlining her talent and what great songs they are.
Dave in a Dress
Proceedings were interrupted by a deep dark voice, down a radio mic; on came Dave Lynn a local drag queen. With the ability for cutting remarks and getting the guys up on stage, to interact with his musical songs. The audience participation routines worked well, with corporate tables watching their sales managers and office clerks brought down to earth; by a man in a sparkling dress.
The lunch was enjoyed over the sounds of the local 24th Invicta Riffles Band. In aid of the ABF ‘The Soldier’s Charity’; helping veterans and their families in times of need. From past campaigns including: Norther Ireland, The Falklands, Afghanistan, Iraq as well as both World Wars. Comedians who have worked and supported this male dominated event include: Frank Carson, Bernard Manning, Jim Bowen, John Stiles, Jeff Stevenson. Now enters Adger Brown, who took up the mantle of his past colleagues; with the strength of the horseradish that accompanied the splendid lunch. Choosing to move from table to table, with radio mic in hand, delivering sharp witty lines at those who became exposed; besides standard material.
His first victim was organiser Steve Darby, describing him as an ‘inflated version of Nick Nack from the Bond film’. Which ripped the place apart, because many knew this hard working charity fundraiser. Putting much time into the preparation of such events and making them run smoothly, to the point of army efficiency. When ‘yours truly’ appeared without a fresh English Rose on my lapel, Colonel Darby gave me the eyes of disapproval, as if I were on parade. Immediately rushing off to find a T-Shirted charitable helper, I grabbed the last one. Eventually taking my seat (now suitably attired), to the grinning amusement of the larger than life character on stage.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.