Don't you just love those evenings that send you on your way with a literal spring in your step? That's what the Karaoke Circus can do for you. Presented by ringmasters extraordinaire Martin White (leader of the Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra and all round wonder) and Danielle Ward (comedian, writer and mean bass player), the idea is simple: why do karaoke to a backing track when you could be supported by a band - with occasional strings - instead? And why just have the man on the street up there when you can have the man on the street and people with varying degrees of fame?
It's such a wonderful idea that it's amazing that it hasn't been done before... in fact, there's every chance that it has been done before, but I would happily bet never with such a talented line-up both in the band and at the mic, such a warm, generous audience, or such a lovely atmosphere.
Song choice is the key for generating this atmosphere, I think (though having the likes of Bens Miller and Goldacre in the room helps) and every one was a winner. Plucky, and generally very good, members of the audience sang tracks that guaranteed they would never be singing on their own, including Eternal Flame, Love Machine and Don't Stop Me Now, and the celebrities (all of whom would probably hate the word) got to indulge, I suspect, personal passions. For Miles Jupp, that was the Divine Comedy's National Express (arch), for Ben Miller, Life On Mars (majestic), and for Chris Addison, Tiny Dancer (can't... breathe... too.... excited).
Add in a panto villain in the shape of judge and comedy writer/performed Daniel Maier, fellow judge 'The Baron' (I don't know), and an audience willing to have, and contributing to The Best Night Ever, and you've got something rather special. So far, the Karaoke Circus has taken place downstairs at the Albany pub on Great Portland Street, but little gems like this can't be kept secret forever, and demand is now such that the night will take place in a bigger venue next time round. I'll be there, and Andrew Collins is threatening to rap... Brilliant.