An audience assembled in the upstairs studio of The King’s Arms on Friday night anticipating new acts which would take to the stage as part of Mother’s Bloomers. Unbeknown to the audience who were eagerly awaiting the fresh meat that Mother’s Ruin had to offer, Mother himself was nestled in the crowd, smiling to himself, as his vision for the new generation came to life.
‘Mother’s Bloomers will be a dedicated space for artists to be bold, adventurous and take risks with their work whilst benefiting from professional development and support in advance.’
‘My name’s Mother’ he told me as I stumbled upon him during an interlude. It was a Wizard of Oz moment if ever there was one. ‘I’m a fierce Mancunian’ he continued and it became apparent later in our conversation that his belief and enthusiasm for the performers was just as fierce First to take to the stage was Paul O’Donnell performing a mock audition, ‘One last rehearsal’, he assured us before he actually auditioned before ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber’ and a panel who were a lethal mix of all reality television villains. O’Donnell targeted audience members to play the roles of the judges. He himself portrayed an overly intense thespian performing interpretive dance at the request of the audience. This resulted in a dramatic bout of choreography to ‘Lady in Red’. O’Donnell, a combination of David Brent and Louis Spence, had the crowd in fits of laughter for the majority of his time in the spotlight.
It was then time for Fat Roland, a comedian who again reduced the audience to hysteria from the start and all done without uttering a single word. Silently he took the audience on a tour about Manchester from doodles he’d drawn himself.
Mother talks of his experience in the underground scene since 2006 as the catalyst for nurturing new acts; acts such as Fat Roland and Paul O’Donnell. ‘It’s all about giving people the opportunity and so many people in life just don’t get that opportunity. We’re so keen to at least give people a chance and when they have that chance they seize it. It’s absolutely fantastic.’ At that moment, Sheila the ticket collecting nun bursts into the conversation to let us know that it’s time to take our seats for Act Three. ‘We’re coming sweetheart’ Mother replies warmly.
And it was in the few final acts we saw some of the best talent on stage including Debs Gatenby whose act was her acceptance speech for her own academic brilliance. Whatever her field of research might have been, it was never quite clear but the audience roared louder than they had before. And Kate O’Donnell who performed an autobiographical cabaret after literally oozing out on stage to then to impart to us ‘A short history of my tits’.
‘Acts from London want to come to Manchester because that’s where they know the exciting fresh stuff is happening – it’s fabulous for the city and fabulous for Salford that we’re here,’ was Mother’s closing line to me during the interval.
And it’s true. The concept of Mother’s Bloomers undoubtedly benefits emerging talent and the city of Manchester but I can’t help but notice that it’s the audience who come away feeling they’ve had the better deal.