The 'Ridiculous' Gail Whitmore

Review from Fringe Festival Praha 2011

Helen Ford

Written by Helen Ford Published on 30.05.2011 10:53:57 (updated on 30.05.2011) Reading time: 2 minutes

The idiom goes “From the sublime to the ridiculous”. I don’t think that either of the performers I saw last night will mind me saying that my evening went in the other direction!
The ‘ridiculous’ Gail Whitmore
This does no disservice to long-time Prague-based Expat Gail Whitmore, who I saw at Malostranská Beseda (Malostranské náměstí 21, Malá Strana).  Gail (a.k.a. The Human Jukebox) is the first to admit that her talent is quirky and incredibly entertaining, but verging towards ridiculous. This does not deter her strong fan base however. On Sunday evening, Malostranská Beseda was packed to the brim to see Gail do her thing. Gail’s ‘thing’ is a remarkable ability to know the lyrics to over 2000 songs and to be able to perform them (very well) on instant demand.  
Members of the audience are given ‘menu´ cards and invited to nominate their favorite songs for Gail to perform. Her range is incredible: from Placebo to Puccini stopping at everything in between. Gail’s voice is really impressive – she performs such a wide repertoire with no accompaniment, no lyrics and (as these are immediate responses to audience requests) no preparation.  To give you a flavor, yesterday’s show involved Gail belting her way through full versions of: Madonna Borderline, Coolio Gangsters Paradise, Schumann Du bist mein blumen, James’ Laid, Shakespeare’s Sister Stay, Joan Osborne, Son of a Preacher Man and (much to the delight of her audience) Sir Mixalot’s Baby Got Back and ACDC’s Shook Me All Night Long.
A favorite part was the medley ‘Mash Up‘ where Gail sang 10 – 15 second clips of over 30 different songs all in a row.
Whitmore gave off the distinct impression that she loves what she does. She is bubbly and funny and has a wonderful time doing this show. This rubs of on her audience who yesterday gave Whitmore a well-deserved standing ovation.  
This was Gail´s last performance at this year´s Prague Fringe, but keep an eye out for her elsewhere in Prague.

Click Here for the ‘sublime’ – Phebe Starr.

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