Jellybean Martinez: Mr Saturday Night TV
In praise of light entertainment, technical hitches and all
This article is from 2015.
Character comedy can be tough. Jellybean Martinez (the camp Spanish alter ego of Matthew Ellis) is definitely more Tony Ferrino than Alan Partridge, and a man who looks back on the Michael Barrymore, Noel Edmonds and Cilla Black ('she was my Princess Diana') era with misty eyes. His Fringe hour is a celebration of all that was good, as well as endearingly naff, about 80s TV before talent shows dominated the schedules.
The lucky / unlucky punters (depending on your point of view regarding audience participation) in the first few rows are called up to take part in series of ridiculous game shows, including Gladidater (a Gladiators and Blind Date hybrid). Then about 15 minutes in, disaster strikes with the entire multi-media system crashing. After a couple of panicked minutes, Martinez fills the rest of the hour like a pro. Never once dropping character and ploughing on through a gloriously gaudy and deliberately tacky celebration of chat shows and general televisual nonsense.
What's really impressive is that despite the technical difficulties Martinez wins round the entire crowd. Soon they are singing the missing musical cues and on their feet for a closing rendition of 'We Are the Champions'. Admittedly it's sometimes infantile, slightly cringy and supremely silly, but it's also stupidly funny.
Just the Tonic at The Caves, 0330 220 1212, until 29 Aug (not 18), 3.15pm, £6–£7 (£5–£6).