July 26, 2014

Review of Kit and McConnel, Guildhall, King’s Lynn

This King’s Lynn Festival event brought a razor edge to what these two local boys made good - gifted cabaret pianist James McConnel (from Holt) and charismatic actor-singer Kit Hesketh-Harvey (he hails from Lynn and knew his West Norfolk– ‘our demographic has got older with us, although they weren’t when they set out on the A47) called ‘the cabaret slot’ but the acid intelligence of the writing was combined with a surprisingly warm heart. No so much correct as politically advanced and with its cutting straying over the edge –Rolf Harris’s Two Little Boys and references to Saville; a satire of the politically correct modern German paying his ‘dues’ over piano chords shifting nervously from Wagner to Kraftwerk; a daring topical comedy number about STDs rising among the geriatric age group which certainly had this grey-haired audience laughing complicitly at lines like ‘go up in your stairlift for a bit of how’s your granddad.’ There were feelgood audience sing-alongs - a ‘Just One Cornetto’ pastiche about Berlusconi - and genuine heart-thumpers: a lullaby for Kit’s dying father (fondly dedicated to the QEH) about all the things a father and son feel but never say; a tribute to a British casualty in a poetically evoked Afghanistan (where Kit has sung for the troops) which also questioned what the – we were doing there.  It may be a long way from the West End to West Norfolk but these two provided a fast track.

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