Someone said to me the other week: “Becky Fury seems to know everybody.”
I had to agree.
The last time I went to see the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award winner’s Democratik Republik of Kabaret evening, her audience included The Establishment Club’s Mike O’Brien, acclaimed international graffiti artist Stik and British Alternative Comedy godfather/legend Tony Allen
“And now you are putting on The Alternative Christmas Party in Shoreditch,” I said to her yesterday.
“I’m doing two shows, John,” she told me. “One is The Alternative Christmas Party on 20th December. It’s a nice room, a really big room, a nice space for cabaret. At the Bridge Bar.”
“In Shoreditch,” I said, “So that will attract trendy IT people?”
“Hopefully,” said Becky, “spending money for their Christmas parties.”
“How much for the tickets?” I asked.
“£20 via Eventbrite and on the door… But I will do a discount on the door for readers of your blog – It will only cost them £15 with the code words Becky Fury is Brilliant.”
“They will be flying in from Guatemala in droves for it,” I enthused.
“And I’m also doing shows at the Cockpit Theatre,” Becky added.
“Near the Edgware Road in London,” I clarified, ever-thoughtful of my Guatemalan readers or reader. “So at the Cockpit you are doing what?”
“I’m trying to create some interesting theatre. Anyway, I don’t really want to go into what I’m doing, otherwise people will just rip it off like they have in the past. I am just doing my thing.”
“That’s it, then,” I said. “Chat finished.”
“That’s it,” said Becky. “People will nick the idea.”
“Tell me the bits you can tell me,” I suggested. “When is the Cockpit Theatre thing?”
“February – the 12th.”
“What do you want to say about it? Heaven forfend that you would say anything to promote it.”
“I’ve been commissioned by the theatre to do a hybrid theatre cabaret gig.”
“What is a hybrid gig?” I asked. “Partly electric, partly petrol-driven?”
“I’ve been given a budget to create some cabaret around a theme.”
“And the theme is…?”
“They’re doing a Samuel Becket season at the Cockpit, so I have written Waiting for Guido. Which is the character in my play.”
“Guido Fawkes?” I asked.
“Yes. Precisely. It’s about waiting for a revolution that never happens.”
“Are you going to wear masks with beards?” I asked.
“No. There’s a couple of really good performers. Some of them are going to take on the theme more than others.”
“I suppose,” I said, “at this point in the blog, I should add in …she says intriguingly…”
“If you like,” said Becky. “What I’m trying to do… Well, the thing I don’t want to talk too much about… is I’ve got three characters and they’re all gonna do monologues. I’ve got Geoff Steel, who is in The Alternative Christmas Party, and Jonathan Richardson, the guy who runs House of Idiot. There’s going to be people doing some circus stuff. And Trevor Lock is headlining.”
“As himself?” I asked.
“Well, he is playing the Sun,” Becky replied. “That’s what he’s been told to do.”
“How?” I asked.
“However he wants to interpret that.”
“This Cockpit Theatre thing and The Alternative Christmas Party,” I asked, “are they under the banner of The Democratik Republik of Kabaret?”
“No. I have been told it should be Becky Fury or Fury Productions.”
“Or just Becky Fury Presents,” I suggested. “You have to have a brand.”
“That is what I have been told by my friend who has managed to make his brand out of drawing stickmen.”
“Has The Democratik Republik of Kabaret disappeared?” I asked.
“It is on hold.”
“Until?” I asked.
“Until I find a better venue. But The Alternative Christmas Party is essentially an extension of what’s going on in The Democratik Republik of Kabaret.”
“What IS going on in The Democratik Republik of Kabaret?” I asked.
“It is a sort of Maoist state,” Becky replied. “No. It’s not a Maoist state,” she corrected herself. “It’s a bit like North Korea. So we will never really know. Journalists obviously are not allowed to investigate it.”
“My head hurts,” I said. “This Alternative Christmas Party in Shoreditch on 20th December… erm…”
“Who is in the show?” Becky suggested.
“I never asked,” I told her. “By the sound of it, you are keeping schtum. It’s that odd thing about comedians – They want to talk about themselves but are perversely shy.”
“Well,” said Becky, “Lewis Schaffer is playing Santa Claus.”
“Will he win?” I asked.
“It depends which game they’re playing,” Becky replied.
“So Lewis Schaffer,” I said, “Jewish comedian, plays Santa Claus, Christian saint and symbol of pagan midwinter…”
“It is an Alternative Christmas Party,” Becky reminded me. “A Jewish Santa. With Lewis Schaffer as a sleazy Santa Claus… In the publicity, I wanted there to be a little imp with a strap-on and, in the show, I wanted to sexually assault boys, but I couldn’t find any boys who would let me sexually assault them.”
“That is hardly credible,” I said. “Anyone else in this sophisticated soirée?”
“There’s a Virgin Mary striptease…”
“By whom?” I asked.
“I believe Claire Lenahan, who is also doing some amazing comedy magic. And there is Geoff Steel, who is also doing my Cockpit show. He is a very interesting up-and-coming act.”
“When you say up-and-coming,” I asked, “into what is he rising and coming?”
“Are you trying to be sleazy?” Becky asked.
“I try,” I said. “Anything else happening after the show that evening?”
“And who else is performing?”
“Oh – I am…. I am going to compere.”
“That is not mentioned on the flyer,” I said.
“According to my friend who has made his celebrity from drawing stickmen, I need to promote myself better. Am I allowed to say that?”
“I dunno. Are you?”
“I think so.”
“Stik did your Edinburgh Fringe poster last year.”
“Two years ago. The year I won the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award. He did do that poster, so I think maybe we are going to have a collaboration next year.”
“At the Edinburgh Fringe next year?”
“And the show will be…?”
“Which you are trying out in…?”
“Leicester in February and Brighton in May.”
“You tried out one bit in Edinburgh this year,” I said. “The bit about being in Calais.”
“Yes. Going to the Calais Jungle and, when you try to do the right thing, it goes horribly wrong…”
“Except for the lucky boy on the beach,” I said.
“You know too much,” Becky told me.
“You will have to do the full autobiographical show at some point,” I told her. “That’s what makes an impact at the Edinburgh Fringe. Laughter and tears. You were telling me some hair-raising tales from your past a few weeks ago and I was thinking: That’s a cracker of an Edinburgh show!”
Becky Fury raised an eyebrow like Roger Moore.
It is an admirable skill, though difficult to divine its exact meaning.