Review by Carmel Shortall
Mark Lester’s Attention Span does indeed wander all over the place but this is a good thing. He writes songs on anything that takes his fancy and is partial to a silly rhyme. Although I only managed to catch the second half of the show, I was still present for a song about beetroot which is ‘the vegetable from hell’; a brilliant pastiche of – or homage to – innuendo-laden music hall songs; the somewhat downbeat and low key: Somewhere Under the Rainbow; and an audience participation song.
Confident and assured, Mark obviously enjoys performing and this translates to the audience. It is difficult to believe that this is his first one-man show (albeit with guest). Chatting between songs, Mark revealed that he would have liked to be a songwriter in the days of Marie Lloyd and his Music Hall spoof was the highlight of the second half. His tale of a poor widow woman (complete with pill-box hat and gauze fascinator), forced to let out her room to a young man whose ‘luggage’ is “too long and too wide for her narrow passage” racks up the double entendres and would certainly have fitted the bill in ‘the good old days’.
Guest artist Liza Keast, resplendent in a jade cocktail dress, sang a different take on Eleanor Rigby and obligingly held up the idiot board for the audience to sing along to the chorus of I Wanna Do It.
All in all a most enjoyable performance – relaxed, convivial, and the songs are good too.
Incidentally, Mark is also Musical Director of the musical revue, Whoosh which has its final performance at the Fringe tonight at 7pm, also at The Pirate Castle.
Mark Lester’s Attention Span performs for one more night, tonight, the 3rd August at The Pirate Castle (head up Camden High Street towards Chalk Farm, turn left down Jamestown Road at the Oxford Arms and walk to the end, then turn right onto Oval Road and The Pirate Castle is a minute along on your left).
If you miss the show tonight, make sure and catch it on its second run – Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd August, 9.30 upstairs at The Camden Head, 100 Camden High Street.