THE KING’S Arms in Salford is host to a range of shows throughout the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival, and last night (June 8), Piano Cad perched upon his trusty piano situated in the Snug to play a few numbers straight out of the 1930s and 40s. Our reporter Adam Lewis was among the few to seek out the free performance…
Piano Cad, known as David Bottomley when out of character, gently entered the cosy pub room to a ripple of applause to perform his show ‘Cloth Cap and Clogs’. With the demeanour of a war time gentlemen and the moustache to match, the man from London sauntered in and settled down on his piano stool.
A nice little ditty about alcohol got the show rolling, attracting titters from the intimate audience. Island of Pomona was up next, but this was only a warm up for the best song of the show, the hook of which contains the lyrics – ‘she loves to shimmy with me and her mother does too‘.
The tempo of the tune helped the rather repetitive punchline land, with the final line of the song providing a twist which earned the biggest laugh of the night.
An elaborate anecdote about the royal family followed the song. This was very much the pattern of the show. The stories he told were abstract, but the imagery he created captured the Salford audience, however, he struggled to get any hearty laughter. The story did, however, provide a fluid link into the next ditty God Save the Queen and Her Fascist Regime.
He then played a sweet song about love which contrasted well to the political song, even if it’s on the lighter side of political comedy. A Salford specific anecdote followed, surrounding the local hero L.S. Lowry.
Again, the story was abstract but was told in a believable style. He may have pushed it too far however, losing some of his audience, but there were a few good gags playing on his character’s ignorance.
The atmosphere was laid back making for easy listening. With only a smattering of people in the small room, the performance felt personal with Piano Cad almost telling stories on a one-to-one basis.
Shows with tiny audiences can feel awkward with performers visibly struggling with their act, but this was certainly not the case here. Piano Cad’s character felt natural and easy to warm to; very rare for distinct personalities.
Matchstick Men and Matchstick Cats and Dogs is the song to round up the half an hour show. There was a somewhat awkward moment as there was uncertainty to whether it had finished, but a generous round of applause did eventually mark the end.
It was pleasure to sit back and enjoy the performance, particularly in the King’s Arms as the venue contributes a great deal to the aura created by the piano.
The friendly atmosphere continued after the show with David breaking character to chat with those that came to watch.
The show offers a delightful flavour of the fringe, and fully enhances an evening’s enjoyment.
Piano Cad performs his free show at The King’s Arms on Sunday 10th July at 9pm.