There is something ever so comfortable about The Horne Section – they get on stage and within minutes you feel feel like one of the guys, part of the banter, in on the joke. It’s an incredible skill and is one of the reasons that I didn’t mind the 11:30pm time slot.
Alex Horne may be more famous for his role as Greg Davies’s on Dave’s Taskmaster but it is in this environment as the front-man of an extremely talented bunch of comedy jazz musicians that he really excels. He leads us on a merry dance – actually more than one –through their intentionally haphazard show, which now includes colour-coordinated overalls and a matching light-bulb cueing system.
The band are Ed Sheldrake (piano, green light), Will Collier (bass, yellow light), Ben Reynolds (drums, white light), Mark Brown (sax, purple light… but navy overalls! Chaos…) and Joe Auckland (trumpet, blue light). Each provide us with a solo song and join in the madness as Alex dictates. They are the straight men in this piece but they definitely get their fair share of laughs.
And just when we thought things couldn’t get any more disorganised, a slightly pickled Tim Key rocks up and takes over as guest conductor. Tim has always been a bit of an enigma to me but a five-minute slot in this environment is a perfect fit. His poems flop, he patronises the band, ignores the host… and it somehow works perfectly.
This date was the first in a Soho Theatre residency and not all of the songs quite hit the mark but these will presumably be polished up (or out) over time. The Agnoc skit and the band’s take on YMCA will stick with me for a while. This was definitely an hour well spent.
One last thing. I can’t leave without commenting on Alex Horne’s shoes – metallic gold kicks with red LED soles are just awesome.
Clown Stars: * * * *
@Soho Theatre, London