What: Kabaret at Karamel
Where: Wood Green, London
When: 2nd March 2018
Who: Society of Imaginary Friends, Darren Hirst – Monologues & Soliloquies, Outre Dan Steele, Stepan Honc + others.
Well, for some reason, wise or foolish, the good people at the Karamel Klub invited me back for a second visit to perform another branch of my occasional show: Darren Hirst – Monologue and Soliloquies.
My previous performance at this great venue was covered here:
On that occasion I’d been performing pieces from Hamlet and Macbeth. This time I’d decided to change things up and go with Cymbeline and King Lear. But that wasn’t the biggest change. Since then I’d got involved with a musical project and we were also, on this evening, invited to present some of the songs that are in our set.
Some month ago, I’d been talking to someone about forming a band which was a little out there and avant garde and which centred on trying to capture some of the lyrical stylings of Steely Dan; one of half which – Walter Becker – had passed away a few weeks before the conversation.
And so the Outre Dan Steele trio was born (diehard Steely Dan fans might struggle to identify where the band name came from).
Essentially the band consists of me on lead vocals and accidental guitar, Isobel Hirst on piano and the mysterious Gilbert (he accompanied in the porter scene from Macbeth) on delicate percussion. In the live performance, sans guitar, I channel my inner Frank Gorshin whilst Isobel provides tasteful chords and Gilbert wonders how he came to be involved. It’s not for everyone but some of the audience tonight enjoyed it a great deal.
I couldn’t really talk about this evening without mentioning the exemplary performance of our friends Louise and Alfie from the Society of Imaginary Friends. It is one of the great crimes of the modern musical world (and there are many) that any band featuring the extraordinary vocals of Louise Kleboe has not had greater exposure and Louise and Alfie have a certain sympatico which make for a natural unit.
The Society of Imaginary Friends opened the show and after a short DJ set, I performed a piece from Cymbeline which can’t be described as one of William Shakespeare’s better known plays. I turned a lyrical section given to Guiderius and Arviragus in the original play into a monologue for a single voice. I first performed this in the 1990s and it was a personal treat to return to it and re-examine it after all these years.
Later in their evening, Outre Dan Steele did their work and I fed that performance straight into my chosen soliloquy as King Lear meditated on his fate and the meaning of it all in a scene from the play which bears his name.
An extra treat was seeing my friend, Stepan Honc from Perkelt take the stage, stepping into a gap left by one of the artists who had to pull out because of the extremely harsh weather and its impact on travelling. He performed a short solo set.
So another great evening for my solo show and my new troupe. We are available for bookings if anyone wants us.