Mari Wilson




live review


London Palladium

WHOOPEE. SUNDAY Night At The (etc). Bothered to wash for this one. Hired a dinner suit, called a cab from around the corner and arrived in elegant style arm in arm with my escort (from the Venus Agency – sixty quid a night, all in). Proceeded to seats and before parking our rears effected a prim curtsy to the royal box (although THEY were not present).

I glanced around, uncomfortably taking stock of the “state” of the audience. The Palladium was full of the “type” of people who make emigration seem like a good option.

Presumably an average gathering for this venue, there was a wide cross-section of ages from old ladies with glasses perched on noses peering at their programmes to the little girl behind me, amusing herself by sticking bits of chewing gum down my neck.

In the year or so since I last saw them, the two remaining Marines, Kurt and Wilbur, have become deftly (or should I say deathly) professional entertainers. They are now exponents of the perennial plastic smile, displaying sets of gleamingly white teeth which look disreputably false.

Prior to Mari's entry they "warm" the audience with a series of unfunny quips of the men-wearing-earrings ilk. The crowd laugh their heads off (metaphorically speaking, more's the pity).

I suppose the Queen Beehive at the Palladium is a major triumph of sorts. The tinsel on the Compact vision of a product which they've "successfully" packaged and presented in a mass public context.

In the past, the strength of the Wilson entourage has been in their subtle sneers and put downs of the bland inanities inherent in the sham of 'show biz' while, at the same time, providing a dazzling spectacle of their own. Hank B. Hive, the smarmiest, most multi faced MC in the world was an essential part of all that and his absence is painfully felt.

The Wilson camp (sic) has slickened up by employing musicians who can play, dancers who can dance and actors who can act. A human element has been removed and neither is there any hint of the kitschy dabblings which used to be so refreshingly uncool.

Even allowing for my terminal rock and roll sensibilities (snort), this was a tedious brand of pulp entertainment. I didn't loathe it exactly, but I was sorely tempted to exit after two songs.

The monotony was alleviated slightly by the special guests, John Cooper Clarke (his 'Evidently Chicken Town' probably providing more "fucks" in its 90 odd seconds than previously heard in the history of the Palladium) and Paul Young. I hung around on the off chance of more appearing. They didn't. The show ended in predictable pantomime style with 'Just What I Always Wanted' which, in Mari's case, this presumably was.

Well before midnight my expensive companion turned into a pumpkin, chewing gum clogged the grace of my dinner suit and as people began to “rave” in their seats during the encore, I scurried homeward.

I used to like Mari Wilson but this was, irretrievably, the end of the affair.

Scissors to the beehive!


mick sinclair

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