On Tuesday night the Kookaburra club was packed out even when I got there, and I made a point of getting there early. Everyone was obviously very happy that Jack was back, as celebrated by the show being called simply, Jack’s Back.
Jack Woodhead hails from Manchester, a long way back, and as a child he won various prizes for his classical pianist talents, even being invited to join the Halle Orchestra at 15. Meanwhile he opted for the theatre, studying performance in New York and in the UK. He has for some time been a regular and very popular fixture of the Berlin scene.
Jack presented this, his first Berlin show since returning from his extensive and very successful tour of Australia, together with Jessica Gardani. It was as usual a great evening of top-class entertainment, warm, good-hearted and very funny. Opening the show was the talented Louise Watts with her huge voice, and as she sang there rose a chorus of voices from the audience; which was how the many-headed British Embassy choir made their entrance, and continued to contribute to the odd number after that; Jessica Gardani with her wonderfully dry humour followed on with a song about her freedom and yours, and then the wonderful Champagne Sparkles came on – a Canadian native burlesque performer who has recently moved to Berlin. Champagne’s performance was heavy on comedy, as she was slowly undressed by a hand-held Muppets puppet. Everyone loved her; and they were nicely warmed up for the return of Jack Woodhead. Jack’s show drew on telling the crowd about his Australian tour, including a radio interview that went wrong in a very Jack Woodheadesque way, involving champagne, Kleenex and a piano, or rather the non-appearance of one; he also had with him a whip purchased in Australia, unfortunately it just wouldn’t crack the way a whip’s supposed to crack, and so Jack turned to the piano and sang a song instead.
After further performances helped along by the embassy choir continuing to give new meaning to the concept of a chorus line, a small ode to the inventor of the bra, Otto Titzling, I kid you not, the show went on with the Lion Sleeps Tonight, featuring Jack as a very fey giraffe, further piano and duo numbers and skits, accompanied by various costume changes by the host, performed as often as not without retiring from the stage, came another number by the lovely Champagne Sparkles, whose ebullient seasonally-inspired disrobing was followed by an equally hilariously straightfaced Jessica G playing stage assistant, and – after Jack had finally cracked his whip – everyone went obediently and happily home.
Article by Mia Morris and Noel Maurice, photos by Mia Morris / funkyrotic art