Tag Archives: Fringe

Review: Navy Knickers and Nicked TVs

Joan Ellis and Donna Jones MBE, aka ‘Them Two‘, shared 90 minutes of stories, poetry and performance pieces for a sell-out audience at the Winter Gardens during this year’s Ventnor Fringe festival on the Isle of Wight.

Donna Jones MBE
Donna Jones MBE

Donna, an accomplished wordsmith who had an illustrious career as a youth worker in the North-West of England, indulged attendees by traipsing around a slew of amusing subjects, including growing up with embarrassing parents (her Dad’s false teeth once scuppering the embryonic stages of a flirtatious liaison with a dishy waiter.)

Donna’s Mother (“the first feminist in Barnsley”) featured prominently in many of her anecdotes, heralded as a woman of great sass who retained the upper hand in her marriage.

Poems such as ‘The Miner’, ‘Blackpool Revisited’ and ’38DD’ were all delivered with requisite gusto from the lips of a bold performer who has been at the forefront of Isle of Wight spoken word and female rights issues for the past several years.

The two ladies intertwined their spirited but very different sets, an effective tool in keeping the show fresh throughout; each segment was kept brief by design, so the audience never had time to get too attached to one person’s material.


Joan Ellis spoke with great passion about her daughter, Sophie, who was present. Much of her material clearly derived from motherhood.

Joan navigated through various highlights of her career and personal life, displaying a penchant for storytelling – retrospectively musing on her time at the top end of the copy writing industry – as the voice of an animated dog amongst other things.

Joan and daughter Sophie
Joan and daughter Sophie

Highlights included an encounter she enjoyed with an aesthetically appealing young man in the 1990’s, whose contact details she was unable to pluck up the courage to take down. The next time she saw him was on television, as he turned out to be Neil Morrissey from Men Behaving Badly!

Switching back and forth again, Donna’s Buckingham Palace related material provided a shift of comedy gears, with every punchline hitting its intended target, most notably a deliciously disgusting description of one youngster as “the kind with hands down his trousers and offering you a crisp!”

Joan concluded the show with a captivating 8 minute monologue based on the death of Marilyn Monroe. It was crisply delivered, but could perhaps have been placed earlier in the afternoon to play out to a fully charged peanut gallery.

A well oiled show from two seasoned speakers, both of whom bounced off each other with great ease and organic chemistry, without it ever feeling overly rehearsed.

In a nutshell

+ A sell-out crowd aged anywhere from 12-72 were left feeling they’d had excellent value for their £6.50 ticket.

Donna Jones MBE’s website is available by clicking here.

Joan Ellis is live on Vectis Radio every Friday and Saturday from 1-2pm, click here for the link!


Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Review: Lairy Tales and Crappy Ever Afters

Baps; we all admire them and we’re liars if we claim otherwise. Whether of the savoury or fleshy variety, there’s a diversity of shape and flavour fit to tantalise even the most discerning of palates.

Unruly Baps

The Ventnor Fringe festival gave curtain call to its final venue of 2016 with a show of rich imagination and tireless expression, courtesy of Lady Baps (Sarah Palette) and Unruly Scrumptious (Eljai Morais), collectively known as Unruly Baps.

A full throttle spectacle divided into seven segments, each containing frenzied farce, with the majority pulling in members of an appreciative audience (although nobody sat in the front row, perhaps wary of becoming part of the show.)

During the opening monologue Unruly Baps described what was set to unfold as “several tales told by two idiots”, as the duo bickered and adorned their bonces with the first of a throng of wigs utilised throughout the evening.

Unruly Baps

The inaugural fairy tale spoofed was Cinderella, which involved Unruly Scrumptious modernising the tale through an extensive and absorbing poem in an impressively legit northern twang.

This scene also gave Lady Baps an opportunity to exhibit her penchant for physical comedy; carrying the action element of the piece with relish, her facial expressions and change of tone brought life to the Cinderella story, with a final twist in the tale for good measure.

Keeping the pace brisk, a “feminist five minutes” called for a volunteer from the audience, but with nobody forthcoming, a man named ‘Liam’ was plucked from one of the back rows (he must have thought he’d be safe in the cheap seats!) He instantly got into the spirit of things with some sharp rebuttals as the ladies had their way with him… So to speak.

These brief fragments between the main action were an effective tool in ensuring proceedings flowed without the threat of a lull or crowd burnout.

More swift changeovers came into play before “Three fairy tales in an unspecified amount of time”, where Scrumptious played needy fall guy to her savvier sidekick, at one point being repeatedly sprayed in the face with water.

Additional volunteers were chosen, some more eager than others, as the regular breaking of the fourth wall guaranteed that patrons felt as if they could become part of the show at any given time. The fairy tales concluded with cackling laughter from the two ladies, who stared into space behind the audience with the sort of maniacal expressions usually reserved for American Idol contestants – it was reassuringly absurd in the most delectable way.

Unruly Baps

With the bar raised so high by these opening exchanges, the next couple of chapters fell a little flatter.

A tribute segway was short and sweet, but didn’t add an awful lot to the production, save for a few audio clips of David Bowie, Prince et al. A black and white silent movie of Rumpelstiltskin followed – a fantastic idea in theory as a deviation within a live show, but it was a tad too lengthy and one paced to be considered unblemished in execution.

Happily the denouement offered a hilarious rendering of Little Red Riding Hood, where the Grandmother was revealed as a slutty former squeeze of the wolf. It brought the house down and received a much deserved standing ovation to close the show.

Both performers exhibited an exquisite range of acting dexterity throughout the evening, with the unscripted aura a testament to not only their ability as actors, but also the skill to keep an audience captivated at the end of a long week at the fringe. This was a worthy headliner.

In short

A superb show, performed and written by two very talented women. A couple of scenes dipped when held against the lofty standard that book ended the night, but on the whole it was memorable for all the right reasons.


To find out more about the show and Unruly Baps in general click the links below!

Unruly Baps
Lady Baps
Unruly Scrumptious

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Max Lyrical at Ventnor Fringe

On Friday, 15th August, a collaboration of the finest talent from the Isle of Wight and beyond make their way to the south coast’s answer to Edinburgh’s esteemed Fringe Festival for the deliciously titled Max Lyrical.

Based in the seaside town of the same name, the Ventnor Fringe Festival has expanded substantially since its inception in 2010, with the woodland area (which hosts the show), a hauntingly captivating backdrop for the spoken word and music that will be on offer.

Here’s the low down on some of the acts that will be performing at Max Lyrical.

DJ Nipsy

– Plays throughout the night –

DJ Nipsy

“He’s unlike any other DJ I’ve heard” Sam Cox, a member of Putney’s RMS recording studios told me upon first stumbling upon ‘Nipsy’ during a fluke encounter after the 2013 Isle of Wight Festival.

After a short sabbatical, he returns at Max Lyrical, expect amazing beats throughout from the king of the deck-dub-math-pop-step genre!

Dylan Kulmayer

– Spoken Word/Rap: 20.10-20.30

Dylan Kulmayer

When I was 17 years of age my mindset frequently switched between subjects as taxing as how many spots I had and how harsh life was as I quaffed apathetically on Perrier water and smoked salmon.

At the same age, Dylan Kulmayer, aka DRK, has recently released his debut EP and, perhaps more tellingly, refuses to go near Perrier, content to slum it with Evian. His lyrics are also wise far beyond his years and his EP received the thumbs up from Kureen.co.uk


-Spoken Word: 20.30-20.45

Maxx Lyrical

If DxK following DRK isn’t confusing enough, this gem also goes by a slightly different version of the gig name, Maxx Lyrical, on special occasions (Bar mitzvahs, weddings etc.)

Infeasibly handsome and with an IQ of 239, the young stud from parts unknown would be Russell Brand’s meditation partner if ever the two crossed paths.


– Music: 20.45-21.10


Like a scene from the original Batman, Ba.Dow’s name crashes through the air each time it leaves somebody’s lips, rendering any surrounding pigeons temporarily incapacitated.

Having won the 2014 Bestival competition, this is the start of an exciting journey for a rich sounding band with virtually unlimited upside.

Unannounced act

– Rap/Spoken word 21.30-21.45


‘Unannounced act’ often refers to a deep panic behind the scenes, as every prospective wordsmith or person owning a beret is urged to spout some words in front of an audience for a few minutes.

That’s far from the case here – Indeed, the organisers have booked… Um… Dave, no wait, DJ Petrolhead. Well, there is someone booked and he/she is bloody marvellous, even the Isle of Wight Country Pamphlet and Joppul Junior site would be impressed!


Donna Jones MBE

– Spoken Word: 21.45-22.00


Of all the MBE’s I’ve known Donna Jones is the finest. Her gritty, honest, colourful poetry should provide the ideal contrast to some of the potty mouthed shenanigans elsewhere.

A published poet, Donna offers a welcome change of tempo to the gig and brings decades of decadent rhetoric to the table.

Buddy Carson and Emmy J Mac

– Spoken Word/Music: 22.00-22.30

Buddy and Emmy
You can’t have a spoken word event without Buddy and Emmy. Well, you can, but it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good.

The headliners are the perfect blend of silky lyricism and ear trembling melodies. Anyone who hasn’t heard Emmy J Mac live and in living colour is in for a treat, her voice is one of the finest to emanate from these shores.

The gig promises to be a special one, get your buttocks over. At £8 for two tickets (2-4-1 deal with Ventnor Fringe) it’s an absolute bargain.

Do you know what else costs £8? Carrot Top’s new DVD – Carrot Top! So, if you don’t come along then you’re basically supporting the flame haired twerp by default.

To purchase tickets for the show either phone Ventnor Fringe on 0843 289 8718 or book via their website.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.