Dexter Clark’s Fabulous Head
Dir: Delyth Thomas
60 min • Leicester Square Theatre • Jun 16, Jul 1, Jul 31, 2012
Being on stage is scary. Especially when you’re on your own. And no matter how many times you do it the fear never quite goes away. While you’re waiting backstage your mind is all over the place. ‘Will I go blank? I think I want to fart. I need to pee. Oh God. Oh God. Here we go!’ And then, once you’re up there, if you can see the people in the front row, it’s even worse. If someone’s yawning, or picking their nose, or looking stony faced, if you focus on them for just a moment too long, your mind can drift and then there’s a panicky few seconds while you try to recover and get back ‘on script’. And then, of course, there’re the hecklers. I’m thinking all this as I’m sitting in the front row of Dexter Clark’s new show, Dexter Clark’s Fabulous Head.
I first ‘met’ Dexter on Myspace. This was back in the days when it was full of arty, creative types, when social media was new, and when, for a few precious years, a window was opened to a world that I hadn’t been party to before. Of course there was a lot of dross. But every now and again you’d come across a nice piece of writing, an unusual song, a mind-blowing painting or photograph, all this creativity that had been held back from the public by the agent/publisher/dealer ‘gatekeepers’. Dexter was one of those people I came across. In the age where reality tv was just finding a foothold in the public consciousness and its ‘stars’ flaunted their Tango’ed tans across the middle shelf of WH Smiths, Roger Lloyd-Thompson started a blog in the guise of a celeb obsessed, ‘celebrity’ hairdresser called Dexter Clark, carefully snipping at this new culture, ‘hacking at the heads’ of any star whose ego became overinflated. It was refreshing. Funny. With a minute amount of Mrs Merton, a sprinkling of Savage and a big bite of Bernhard.
Then, social media moved on, from the clunky world of Myspace to the new world of Youtube, and so did Dexter, with two minute videos that brought this fashionista monster to life. He was just as campy and self-absorbed as I’d imagined. Dexterstein was born.
Now Facebook and Twitter are the new obsessions. But this is where Dexter stepped off the ‘please friend me/ad whore’ train track and moved to live performance; a few dates here and there to test his satire on a growing pack of fellow follicle followers and a 10 episode radio series for the BBC. And now here he is. At the Leicester Square theatre. It’s been quite a journey. So it’s going to be interesting to see how Dexter the confident, Dexter the comedian, Dexter the bane of the Kerry Katonas (“council house bangs”) and Katie Prices (“thick up top”) of this world copes with the joys of a live, and, it seems, drunken audience.
I needn’t have worried. For as the lights go down and we hear Gothica and the beginning of Fluers Du Mai (by Sarah Brightman) fill the theatre, in swans Mr Clark with a smirk and a flick of his ‘bottle blonde’ fringe, basking in the spotlight and the drama of the music. “Tonight ladies and gentlemen,” he says, once he’s soaked up the applause. “I aim to touch each and every one of you. Inside. Bareback. Because, my slogan for the salon is…Bareback Builds Rapport!” And then he’s off. An hour’s worth of social commentary, the first of his ‘Lecture Tours’, dissecting everyone from Kate Moss (“chemical streak”) to Rebecca Brooks (“tawdry mane”) and Britney Spears (“Mississippi muddy blonde”) – while educating his audience on weighty topics such as the tabloids, religion, the riots and the environment. He even announces a new fragrance. “Well all the celebs have them: Jeremy Clarkson, Eau de Phobe. Lindsey Lohan, Septum. Even Jodie Marsh has one, Visage de Merde.”
This is a star on the rise. And after blog, video, radio and now live performance, it surely won’t be long before TV beckons and Dexter is thrust inside the celebrity world he examines so cleverly and ruthlessly from the outside. It’ll be interesting to see how it reacts to him once he’s part of it.
Oh, and the hecklers didn’t stand a chance.