A new Tim Rice – Elaine Paige
“That is the quote I want on my gravestone,” Marcus Reeves said when we first discussed his work.
Marcus Reeves was born in 1979 and grew up in South London. He studied at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design before working on the London cabaret circuit. He is both a writer and performer. A self-styled “singer-songwriter and cabaret artist”, he penned the unlikely production Postcards from God: The Sister Wendy Musical. For those readers who do not know, Sister Wendy is an art critic who presented an idiosyncratic series of art history documentaries on the BBC in the 1990s.
The show started at Battersea Arts Centre in 2004 as a series of cabaret performances.
Marcus’ aim for this ambitious project was not to caricature Sister Wendy but to let the audience decide what to make of her.
Sister Wendy called Marcus “a man of enormous imagination”, which is both accurate and surely in competition with Elaine Paige’s accolade for a headstone position.
On February 3, Marcus unveiled a retrospective showcase of his work entitled three zero at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, London. He will be performing it at Rich Mix in Hoxton, London, in May 2009. three zero weaves together songs, poetry and video in a montage of material from the last ten years of his writing and performances. Fans of Clementine the Living Fashion Doll were able to witness her magic live on stage. There were two other special guests: the equally wonderful Dickie Beau and Le Gateau Chocolat. The night was hosted by the marvellous Timberlina.
The show opened with Marcus, brandishing a pair of ostrich feather fans, entering stage left for
A story of boys and bands and beer,
Of playing it straight and playing it queer.
Of mother and father, of villain and hero,
Of starting at one and approaching three zero
The first record Marcus ever bought was by Culture Club and he admits to an on-and-off obsession with gender bender extraordinaire Boy George. The song ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ is about this obsession and Marcus performed it live with the video, recorded in 2004, playing on the screen.
You’re looking pretty – pretty weird,
Lipstick and glitter, diamonds and tears.
Mister peculiar, so gaily dressed,
You’re equally so cursed and blessed.
“I always wanted this piece to use material that has never seen the light of day,” Marcus said, “and because of that it became clear very early on in the show’s development that I’d need to include video as a major part of it – there are a number of projects I’ve done that used video but sat gathering dust for various reasons. Video is something I’d sort of toyed with but never really used in a live context, so I wanted to try and nail it this time – I’ve seen other artists do it and thought I could do too, perhaps better! It gives you the opportunity to do quite ambitious things with no budget – which is always good. Finn Ross, who has designed the video sequences, has actually seen all of my shows from ‘Cut Out and Keep…’ in 2003, so he’s been aware of everything I’ve done and is a very valuable critical voice for me (and he also has the patience of a saint!).”
I asked Marcus if he considered himself part of the Hoxton underground scene, the prominent faces of which are Jonny Woo and Dickie Beau. “I’d say I’m definitely not part of it! When I won Bistrotheque’s Tranny Talent contest in 2007, there was a sense of ‘wait a minute, who’s this person from Sarf Lahndan, comin’ in ‘ere and stealin’ our Tranny jobs!’. Apart from Duckie at the RVT, there isn’t really much of a cohesive alternative scene in South London, so Bistrotheque, Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club and a few other places are havens for queer performers (which is a title I myself use with caution, but that’s perhaps a far longer ramble…)”
To find out more about Marcus visit his profile page in our Sound & Vision section: