Witt 'n Camp: SWAG

Tue 7th – Sun 26th August 2018

reviews

Jasmine Silk

at 09:18 on 23rd Aug 2018

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If I were to attempt to prepare you for this show it would ruin it for you. Going to this show signs you up for an hour of musical, sexy, absurd, and comedic entertainment. It is brilliantly unpredictable, which makes it all the more fun.

Their style harks back to traditional cabaret of the 1920s, or perhaps Liza Minelli and Chicago, and a bit of burlesque, but now with a modern-day update. The characters, the singing, and exceptionally sexy voices and innuendo remains, but with modern songs sung in opera and jokes about modern issues. Super Bass, Smack That, and Uptown Funk all receive beautifully sung and sexed up covers, and there is even another song called ‘Millennial Blues’, just for us millennials. This adaption of the familiar genre is part of why it works – they are able to surprise us and show us something completely different to what we’ve seen before.

One of the most impressive elements of the show were the truly incredible vocals of Witt and Camp, whose voices were absolutely stunning. Their ability to command the room was also remarkable; from the moment they first spoke into the microphones, with the deepest sexiest voices they can, they controlled the room completely. They slip between different extremes in the form of caricature-like characters. Witt and Camp flirt with their audience, and the pure female sexuality at the centre of the show is easily one of the biggest reasons it works.

Not all of the sketches are perfect – some become a little repetitive, although they are often changing so quickly it hardly matters. Some things seem random, but nothing can be out of place in a show this inherently ever-changing. The nature of the show means you cannot expect everything to make sense; you just have to accept and enjoy what you are given.

This is unlikely to be a show for everyone, and could at times be a little much for some audiences, but if you like the slightly crazier shows at the fringe you will probably enjoy this one. The variety of the show is what keeps it fresh and exciting; you are never bored for a second as you never know what is around the corner. It is certainly a show I would recommend to anyone looking for something very sexy, very funny, and very out of the ordinary.

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Kathryn Tann

at 12:51 on 23rd Aug 2018

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Truth be told, when I sat down in the second row of Studio 5, I was expecting silliness from ‘Witt n’ Camp: Swag’. This expectation was in many wonderful ways fulfilled, but I was unprepared for the skill and talent that would go into its delivery.

How to describe ‘Swag’? Without giving too much away, the show comprises of unconventional renditions, bizarre burlesque, cackle-worthy comedy and many, many costume changes. It becomes apparent in the first number that Holly Campbell and Charlie Howitt are excellent singers, with Witt’s low bluesy tone complementing Camp’s dulcet notes in spine-melting harmonies. This combination of comedy and genuine talent is always a satisfying one.

The pair’s vocal skill was further reinforced as, in stark contrast, they transformed into opera singers for their second number of the night. All it took was an impressively flawless classical performance of ‘Boy You Got My Heartbeat Runnin’ Away’, complete with immaculate diction and passionate delivery, and this song became comic gold. Each time the “world renowned hip-hop opera stars” returned was an anticipated pleasure.

Another returning pair of characters which I found myself eagerly awaiting were the melancholy chickens. I won’t say too much more (so as not to spoil anything), but the moment Witt paused her straight-faced dialogue to squeeze out an egg, I knew this show was a jackpot.

Both Howitt and Campbell are clearly very comfortable under the lights. Returning every so often to their smooth stage personas, tinted glasses on, each could interact at just the right level with audience members. Costume changes were mostly seamless, and when they weren’t – for instance when a flipper didn’t quite make it onto a foot – we were only laughing more.

Witt and Camp warned their audience at the start that their show was going to get weird, and having witnessed a breastfeeding strip-tease, an extravagantly ‘hot’ (quite literally ‘too hot’) performance of ‘Uptown Funk’, and a chicken triumphantly recite every African country, I was quite happy to find that this threat had not been an empty one. Bizarre and wonderfully bold, ‘Swag’ was absolutely an hour worth its ticket price. The pair warn in their final song that “we don’t do refunds” – just as well, because, though a few audience may have been a little shocked by what they saw, none could have been disappointed.

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