Skiing out into the snowstorm that is The Basement’s Studio stage comes Juan Vesuvius. The Venezuelan Calypso DJ speaks into a banana on a microphone stand, and spins classic Donovan tunes. With an e-cigarette dangling from his mouth, a fruity cocktail in his hand and hips that never stop shaking, he is the life of the party. Prepare for a most sensual and enlightening evening.
Juan is the creation of Barnie Duncan. Using a combination of traditional stand up, DJ mash ups, pantomime and crowd interaction. Juan shows the audience just how beautiful music can be, and how it is here to relieve us of the stresses of everyday life. Juan compares it to the friendship between a goat and a rhinoceros. It’s often silly and absurd and very funny.
One bit on inspired lunacy occurs when Juan decides to explain the music of Trinidad and Tobago, using a Disney recording of Sinbad as a sort of musical Mad libs. Hearing the history of slave trade inserted into such a polite record is endlessly amusing, especially as “Day-Oh” fades in and the topic turns to just how many bananas is in an eight head.
At times, it seems Juan is testing just how far his audience is willing to follow him. Thankfully he creates a very open, accommodating environment – the sort where the audience has no problems joining in on a celebratory boogie. It’s hard to not to get caught up in the dance.
Reviewed by Liam Golds