There’s no one quite like Witt ‘n’ Camp. ‘Singing’ classic rap songs in the style of opera, Charlie Howitt (Witt) and Holly Campbell (Camp) have subtlely dispensed with the distinctions between popular culture and high culture. This, of course, is done to comic effect, but in their cabaret show, everything is up for grabs.
A handful of characters resurface periodically throughout the show, compounding interest in them. In the case of the ‘opera singers’, their passive-aggressive behaviour towards each other is reminiscent of Jane and Blanche Hudson in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
Staying on the subject of old movies, Charlie and Holly also directly referred to the film Cape Fear when talking to one member of the audience, who reminded them of Robert de Niro in that movie. I laughed as it was so unexpected, but as not everyone understood the reference, the audience was asked how many people were born after 1985 – the cut-off point for those who would automatically get the reference. About half the audience put their hands up. Of course this begs the question for any live act, whether most people under 30 will recognise pop culture references if the programmes/films can’t be found on Netflix.
But I digress.
After a change of foot- and headwear, Witt ‘n’ Camp stood before us talking about ‘Steve’, his ‘two-timing’ ways and the absence of foreplay. Then the penny drops (for me at least). They’re meant to be hens and that Steve is in fact a rooster. Of course, as their dialogue continues, the distinctions (or lack of…) between animal and human behaviour is very apparent, as is the realisation that humans aren’t so evolved after all. Still, what the hens do to remedy their situation is the funniest thing.
While there is a frantic energy to the proceedings, there is always a point to be made in the most ‘random’ of things. Even after a burlesque segment, a ‘throwaway’ comment about its purpose and self-esteem puts a different perspective on things, though like much of the show, what’s said in ‘the spirit in cattiness’ probably says more about the character speaking.
© Michael Davis 2018
Witt ‘n’ Camp performed at the Vault Festival on 17th February.