I have long had a vision of a show where the audience would truly fulfil their side of the contract; rather than simply sit there in rapt gratitude/boredom/bafflement as a show plays out in front of them, they should take their fulsome part in actually generating the action, and driving it forwards, through SONG!!! What’s not to like, at regular points throughout the action, in our rampant audience crooning out a love ballad (You Sexy Thing), a war inciter (For Those About To Rock, We Salute you), an exercise in self-aggrandisement (I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt) or a vomit of vanity (I Did It My Way)? Songs chosen specifically for maximum lung release, as well as for their function in driving our drama....and with our exquisite band giving them all the canon fodder they need. As satisfying as Massaoke, and eminently more useful.
And so Ubu Karaoke was born - an improvised show based on Alfred Jarry’s surreal and scatological fable of the rise, the reign, the ruination of a vainglorious, cruel, narcissistic tyrant (sound familiar?)
It premiered in Kneehigh’s Asylum in Cornwall in August 2018, with my writing partner Carl Grose and Mike Shepherd directing, and with my musical direction. And what is most certain, we found the model worked astonishingly, so you haven’t heard the last of Ubu Karaoke yet!