About Time You Saw: The Horne SectionBy Hayley Thompson
“Welcome to the stage The Horne Section! The really fit Horne Section… Two of them are fit, The Horne Section…” cries Alex Horne.
Clad in brightly coloured boiler suits the five-piece file onto the stage just as though they were a ‘real jazz band’. Actually, fans of The Horne Section will know they could really be a real jazz band – all five of them talented musicians. But then strutting to centre stage arrives Alex Horne, the front man all in red. The world’s first ‘front man’ to possess zero musical talent. Or at least the first to be really open about it. But then that’s what makes the band so brilliant and so brilliantly funny.
If you’re familiar with The Horne Section you’ll not be disappointed. There are call-backs aplenty and even an entire song dedicated to name dropping their numerous TV appearances (from 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown to Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Alex Horne’s Taskmaster) and their BBC Radio Four show. However, anyone new to the act may well feel as though they’ve stumbled upon a sort of cult-comedy experience, as the band and Alex maintain their off-the-cuff funny rhythm and playful adlibbing throughout.
Taking up a month’s residency in the basement of the Soho Theatre, Alex Horne kicks off the evening every bit the buffoonish ringleader. Whilst the band melts into their first melody all eyes are on Alex, as he stops and then restarts the music – literally dictating the group’s every move. It’s almost reminiscent of that wonderful Morecambe and Wise sketch, “all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order” and already the room feels giddy.
As the show reaches its high notes we’re treated to silly solos, hilarious asides and much fun being made of the poor trumpet player dressed in high-vis. There’s a healthy dose of audience participation too, weaving its way through the ‘cabaret style’ seating. But don’t worry the bar stays open for the entire gig!
There are guest performances throughout the month including the award-winning comedian and actor Nick Helm and even one-half of the Basement Jaxx duo, Felix Buxton. But we were treated to the unapologetically pompous Charlie Baker: a hilarious mix of trombone, stand-up and tap-dancing. At one point there’s even a conga!
All singing, all dancing and all joking this show is brilliantly witty and refreshingly silly. A must see for musical comedy fans!