The Horne Section is described as a "heady mix of spontaneous stand-up, spectacular performance and outlandish musical talent". I still wasn't really sure what to expect or how the mix of stand-up comedy and music would work so I went in with an open mind and I certainly wasn't disappointed.
Alex Horne and his five musicians (Ed - keyboards, Will - bass, Ben - drums, Pedro - saxophone and Joe - trumpet/banjo) are amazingly talented. Their musical ability is jaw droppingly good. One part of the show involved the audience calling out songs for them to play so that the saxophone break of "Baker Street" could be inserted into the songs to demonstrate how well it could go with any piece of music. (Apparently it works for anything except "Wheels on the Bus"!) They played faultlessly and without sheet music - presumably they are faced with different songs every time they perform so that has to be applauded.
From the beginning of the show, there is a lot of audience participation. I would actually say there is too much really. For those of a nervous disposition (myself included), this made the show a bit of a nerve wracking experience as you didn't know whether you would be next...
The songs are funny and clever whilst being pleasing and immediate. The performance felt fresh and vibrant, even though they must have done it countless times. Alex is quick witted and great at ad libs and the band are equally as funny and spontaneous. Anxiety issues aside, the whole show was relaxed and easy, almost like being in the company of old friends.
It occurred to me towards the end of the first half that not a single swear word had been spoken, there had been no rude jokes and no innuendo and that somehow made it seem more special as they have enough talent not to need to fall back on "a bit of blue".
The highlight of the night was the blindfold performance of The Macarena by Alex and Joe. I nearly fell off my chair - and that wasn't just to dodge being picked out to play Battleships on stage.
In the second half, Alex introduced a guest comedian - Craig Campbell, a wide eyed Canadian with frantic delivery. This did spoil the vibe a little as his style was completely different and he started his set with a rap containing a few questionable lyrics. His tale about Canadian air travel was told in a very entertaining manner but I would have preferred to watch just The Horne Section as they don't need to bring on extra guests, they are everything you could want for a fantastic evening of entertainment.
The clean image was dispelled in the second half with the use of, let's just call it a word beginning with C. Alex referred to this as "an edgy nature song" and it was performed by Will and Joe and it was very funny. Slapped wrists though, boys, for the use of that word!
The encore was a medley of songs performed by a variety of Henry Hoovers...looking remarkably like Alex and the band wearing said hoovers on their heads. No I haven't been drinking.
This was a great night's entertainment, (mostly) good clean fun and very, very funny. I would definitely go again, although I may need to wear an invisibility cloak to dodge any chance of audience participation.
Reviewed on: 18 June 2015
Reviewed by: Nicky Lambert