Fetish Knights (Manchester Pride – Fringe)

Venue: John Thaw Studio
Where:  Manchester

In a somewhat seedy place called The Associates Bar, somewhere on Canal St, the Fetish Knights have their, well, fetish nights. With a red carpeted, music pumping, foot-lit entrance to the show, as you arrive, it is clear you are in for something quite spectacular. 

The set, the interior of a bar that looked all too familiar, its clientele would turn out to be just as familiar. Ken (Dean Sullivan) and his partner Ted (Mark Sheals) are the first to be introduced.  This leather clad and shallow couple (on the surface), are poles apart in some ways. They are joined by Jake (Neil Ashton) and Sean-John (Rob Ellis), best friends with a one sided, symbiotic relationship. 

All of them taken care of by Karl (Anthony Crank), a handsome and caring barman any venue would hire in a second.  The lives of these characters are slowly unfolded, meticulously revealed, and there is more to all of them than first meets the eye.

Camp & cutting are under statements, but will have to do. What ensues is one wild night in this watering hole, but oh my, what a night it is.

Meanwhile – Linford (John May), is the bar’s one legged narcoleptic door man. Paula (Sarah Corrigan) is his dizzy, caring and over bearing Mother. Pamela (Susan Twist) is the wedding planning and Sean-John’s mother,  and Julie (Nikki Sanderson) is the girl Pamela is currently planning a wedding for, vol-au-vents and all. Casey (Carly Harris-Sutcliffe) seems to be having a hen night all on her own, and somehow, like all the other incredibly well crafted characters, finds her way into this bar, on this night, of all nights.

Hilarity ensues and this reviewer found himself in hyserics throughout and I rarely belly laugh, at anything, ever. But there are so many funny one-liners and zany situations, that you have to surrender. It isn’t all fun and games though, there are some beautifully written and very tender moments. Moments that could give you cause to shed a tear or two, but then you are hit with another quip, another outrageous one liner, and the comedy is back.

The entire cast breathe life into these fully rounded characters and Rob Ellis gives them cracking lines and they deliver with panache. Getting served at the actual on stage bar during the interval was a delight, as the audience feel part of the piece. Deft direction by Ian Townsend means that the pace never lets up.
Fetish Knights is bound to return in a great little theatre somewhere, and when it does, you should absolutely go and see it.

I loved it!

– Paul J.Burgess