Twonkeys Kingdom: Why you MUST check it out this month

Twonkey’s Kingdom @ The Edinburgh Fringe begins tomorrow. So for anyone who is stopping by in two minds about whether or not they should be going, or wondering who this Twonkey feller actually is, here’s the reason why it’s the Must See show in Edinburgh this month. (Disclaimer: just to reiterate – this is an independent blog, I’m not connected to this artist in any way, or pocketing a percentage of the takings)

Mr. Twonkey is comedian / musician Paul Vickers, previously lead singer of cult band Dawn of the Replicants. He has performed at the last two Fringe Festivals (Twonkeys Cottage, followed by Twonkey’s Castle). I caught Twonkey’s Castle by almost freak accident last year (exactly as recounted in this blog’s initial post) and loved it. But it was listening to the 2 on-sale discs that turned me into a huge fan. Information on Vickers’ post Replicants career was thin on the ground, hence Playboys With Hunchbacks was born. I probably didn’t expect to still be here a year later, but here we are…

This year he finishes off the Twonkey Trilogy with a third CD soundtrack, Nest of Knickers, available. I’m not exaggerating when I say that these 3 discs should be in every collection. These arent quickly recorded show souvenirs. They are modern classics, in a genre all of their own, which you could only call ‘Paul Vickers’. He’s nothing less than a world class recording artist, with an uncanny knack of picking the perfect collaborators.

Anyway, here are mini-reviews of the show (which has previewed in Brighton) and the discs. Do you like music? Did you put ‘GSOH’ on your Match.com profile page? Then you owe it to yourself to attend this show and get hold of all three of these discs.

Twonkeys Kingdom: Officially listed as ‘cabaret’ in the Fringe booklet, it’s a mixture of stories and songs, with some audience participation thrown in. Vickers is a comedy natural and the new ‘stories’ are a hoot, all beautifully delivered. The songs are magnificent too, but the live vocal performance is really the icing on the cake. It’s worth going just to hear new track Lon Chaney alone. Unmissable.

Fucking Storys: His first Twonkey-related CD, and it’s a corker. Almost entirely comedy cuts (the music would take equal dibs going forward), the highlights are probably Paul’s Guide To The Music Industry in four episodes, each funnier than the last. There’s only one proper song, A Lion Milking A Cow, but it’s a peach. Some tracks will even have you wondering what a mental health professional would make of them. It’s that good!

Oom-pah!: ah, the disc that blew me away. Working with a bunch of different collaborators, the music cuts are incredibly varied, but never less than fantastic. I’ve always said that the one thing a great album, novel, movie, etc, needs is atmosphere. Russ Abbot knew it. And Vickers knows it. The fact that this album maintains it bigtime despite wearing a dozen different musical hats is nothing less than a miracle. Against all the odds, even the album cover captures the contents perfectly. Crimp Drizzle remains my favourite ever Vickers track, and closer Hot Beryl is already his signature crowd pleaser. A masterpiece.

Nest of Knickers: Probably Vickers’ best mix of music and comedy on a single CD. Aside from  being the newest, it’s also the best introduction to his work. The absurdist stories are a hoot, and the songs are a treat. 5 tracks from old band Dawn of the Replicants appear (all previously unreleased), and four tracks with newcomer ‘Pierre’. Pierre’s musical palette is the perfect backdrop for Vickers lyrical and vocal stylings and are the disc highlights.

I’ll finish off here by telling you why now is the time to be checking out Mr Vickers. On talent alone, he should be playing the Hollywood Bowl. But comedy – the new rock’n’roll – doesn’t belong there in my opinion. I saw Al Murray, the Pub Landlord himself, perform a show above a pub a couple of years ago. He was great, but the show was a trial run for the ruddy Millenium Dome (O2 Arena). 20,000 spectators! Erm, no thanks. Similarly, I saw Lee Evans at the bottom of the bill in a church hall when I was still in my teens. I’d never witnessed anything as magnificent in all my life. I checked him out whenever he played locally for a few years afterwards. But now? He’s a superstar, and plays to 20,000 a night. I would just have no interest in going anymore  (not even for nostalgia’s sake since it’s the bloody same show).

In other words, the show is best, and best enjoyed, when a comedy performer’s talent exceeds the size of the venue. Which was the case at one time for all the greats and is the case here (and I haven’t even seen the venue yet). Vickers is probably just a BBC3 documentary away from world domination. So enjoy him now whilst you can. He’s an artist at the very peak of his powers and Twonkeys Kingdom is not to be missed.

All that remains is to wish Mr Vickers a great Festival.

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