The Horne Section (4 stars)

This article is from 2010.

The Horne Section

Late night jazz comedy shambles – in a fun way

‘We’re combining music and comedy – we’re pretty sure this is the first time it’s ever been done!’ announces Alex Horne, taking on compère duties this evening at the head of a live jazz band. There’s a bit of audience participation, some snappy music cues, some witty repartee between Horne and the band, and then the main meat of the evening is presented: guest slots filled by the crowd-pleasing line-up of Tim Key, Jeremy Lion and David O’Doherty.

Each comedian brings something different to the table: Key allows the band to work subtly as complementary backing to his bite-size poetry; Lion barks out music cues and berates the pianist for being too enthusiastic; and O’Doherty actually speaks fluent jazz, throwing out hook-names and ‘in the key of’s like a natural as he plays along on his mini electric keyboard. There’s a vague awareness on Horne’s part that each performance is running over time, and there’s a massive technical failure at the end of the show, but this all just endears them to us further – when the projection screen dies, Key picks up the laptop and takes it round individual audience members by hand. These shambolic goings-on are perfectly carried off; indeed, it’s only certain engineered, faux-shambolic elements of the evening that are a slight letdown.

Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, 23–26 Aug, 12.20am, £7

The Horne Section

The sextet fronted by the inimitable Alex Horne performs a medley of retro jazz-swing and big band music plus stand-up, performance and musical comedy.

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