'The Palaver Family Festival at Cambridge Junction was enjoyed by all - including me'
- Credit: Emma Jones
Angela Singer went to The Palaver Family Festival celebrating difference at Cambridge Junction and had a fabulous time. Here's Angela's review of the day.
Noël Coward would have said: “I went to a marvellous party.”
My grandmother would have said: “It wouldn’t do for us all to be the same.”
The Junction Cambridge has been putting on weekly Palaver Parties this year for families.
For half-term it offered its first Palaver Family Festival.
The audience was encouraged to get out the glitter and it did its best to wear bright colours and sparkle.
Sprinkled among the crafts – with colourful materials laid out on a long table like a banquet – storytelling and sing-a-long sessions were two shows by various performers celebrating difference.
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It ended with a disco attended by Ginny Lemon, star of RuPaul’s Drag Race television show. All the performances were translated into British Sign Language.
Prancer the Dancer (aka Harry Clayton-Wright) arrived on stage in his dressing gown and slippers and said he was shy.
His dream was to become a dancer, if only he had the courage.
“I want to visit the future where I will be able to dance.”
Fortunately, he had a huge, silver time machine, which he told the children was powered by energy, noise and dance – so that was what they had to do.
Sure enough, he reappeared in a blue and gold satin jumpsuit and gave everyone a dance lesson.
It included eight jumps, three kicks, a hip wiggle, spinning round and raising your arms in the air.
“You are under water – wave to the jellyfish,” he said as we moved about to You’re Free….to do what you want to do, the song by Ultra Nate.
Then it was musical statues with compere Cyro, who roved around the audience handing out little packets of sweets as prizes.
This show had many of the cherished elements of panto without the fairy story – just the audience participation bits.
It did include a good fairy. Katy Baird, as an act called Music Boxer, posed balletically in her pink net crinoline in the middle of the stage on a rotating disc accompanied by a piece from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
Then she lifted up her skirts over her head to reveal balloons, covering her head to foot, which she burst one by one to the tune of Move it, Move it. It was inexplicably funny.
There is always an undiscovered gem at festivals. Mine here was mellifluous singer and pianist Nicky Harris, 29, dressed as a clown, who played gently in a corner between the main stage shows.
His usual presence is in a one-man cabaret show in The Avalon Café in Bermondsey and various haunts in London’s East End.
The afternoon show’s finale called Gender Messy was the most slick of the stage acts.
“I’m Joey Frankland and I’m a nine-year-old boy,” said a child who needed a ladder to reach the microphone – and happily just happened to have one. “My dad should be here. I will wait for her.”
His dad is Emma. They have the same dark golden, long hair. They wore identical yellow jumpsuits. From a theatrical family (Emma is an actor and author) they have same natural stage presence.
“Things on the inside are not always what they look like on the outside,” explained Joey.
To illustrate this, he fetched a bag of shopping. From out of a tin of fizzy drink, came red chiffon, from out of a huge packet of Shredded Wheat came water.
An egg that Emma smashed was actually a raw egg.
“Not everything is different on the inside,” said Joey.
Family shows continue at Cambridge Junction on Sundays, until November 28, followed by The Snow Queen from Wednesday, December 8 to January 3.