Felix and the Scootermen: Self-Help Yourself Famous
- Craig Angus
- 5 August 2019
Music industry satire is funny in patches
Remember the Hoosiers? During the era of landfill indie, they topped the charts, caught the NME's ire and played to massive crowds at sell-out music festivals all over the world. They had two top-ten singles ('Worried About Ray' and 'Goodbye Mr A') and an album, The Trick to Life, that went double platinum in the UK alone. The release of a second full-length brought with it a third 'top 11' single and not much else. The chances are you never heard of them again. Until now.
The band's remaining members, Irwin Sparkes and Alan Sharland, are trying their hand at comedy this year, with mixed results. Self-Help Yourself Famous has the two playing 'Twitter-verified celebrities' Felix Scoot and Lee Delamere (of the successful band Felix and the Scootermen). The thread of the show is a Brit School-accredited five-step programme that will bring fame and fortune to anyone wise enough to follow it. This device allows the duo to bring their real-life experiences to the table, satirise the music industry's worst elements and air some grievances through a fictitious frame. No doubt it's been a cathartic writing process.
A problem is that the universe they've built isn't especially believable. Felix and the Scootermen function only as a placeholder for the Hoosiers, with very little of the band's already limited backstory thought out well. The five-step plan is a flimsy plot device too, abandoned to the extent you forget it's happening.
Still, Self-Help Yourself Famous is occasionally inspired, with the choreography and music both wonderfully silly, and Felix Scoot's delusions a frequent source of comedy, while Lee Delamere's more grounded reflections show a lesser-seen side of fame. It's a striking concept, not a million miles away from After the Screaming Stops, the Bros documentary that became such an unlikely hit, but this is not nearly as well executed.
Underbelly Bristo Square, until 26 Aug (not 10), 4.40pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11).