After multiple critically acclaimed runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, their own BBC Radio 4 show and appearances on hit shows like 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Alex Horne brings his band, the Horne Section, to the Perth Concert Hall.
Performing to a highly enthusiastic crowd, Horne displayed his trademark wit and command of the room while mixing witty musical parodies with good old fashioned puns. What makes Horne stand out amongst a jam packed field of musical comedy competition is his seeming lack of musicality. His voice is admittedly weak and more likely to speak along to a melody than sing with it, yet what would usually be seen as a failing lifts the show to new comedic heights as Horne performs numbers about everything from the seasons to Zumba.
While Horne is undoubtedly the frontman of the group – and the only one whose face adorns the rather stylish banner at the back of the stage – each member of the band forms an indelible impression on the audience. This extended even to the missing member, caught up in Edinburgh traffic and late to the proceedings, much to the audience’s booing glee (relax, it was an order). Each performer gets their moment to shine, be it through a fancy hoover-focused solo or some choice moves. Of course, they’re all upstaged by Henry Hoover’s number on the Spanish Flu.
The audience are invited into the proceedings as well, much to the delight of some and trepidation of others. Crowd participation included musical quizzes (with obvious favouritism from the audience), a unique take on battleships, and an impromptu fashion choice from one kind member helping out with Horne’s wardrobe malfunction. Between some ripped trousers and one especially excitable front row attendee determined to grab his attention, Horne demonstrated masterful comedic skills as well as the kind of heckler control that can only be honed through multiple appearances at the Fringe.
Despite their musical focus, the true joy of the Horne Section is in their visual moments: From the bizarre movements ordered by Horne himself to the simple glee of the audience becoming a stand-in band. The general air of the show is somewhere between a vintage variety hour and Flight of the Conchords. It’s not hard to see why audiences, including the one at Perth Concert Hall, warm so quickly to the Horne Section, and end up laughing down the aisles as they leave. In a year full of stand-out moments, Alex Horne and his hilarious band will surely remain one of the highlights of the 2016 Perth Festival of the Arts.