by Camden Ford, Dec. 15, 2017

With Sarah Saeed, of Elegant in the Room Productions. Performer & Producer of Lava Elastic

I met up with Sarah Saeed, AKA operatic sensation Marianna Harlotta, to chat about Lava Elastic, one of Brighton—and the UK’s—first ever neurodiverse comedy and performance nights (and the topic of our next blog post!) On the back of this interview, our writing team (all 2 of us) also took the opportunity to pick up some tickets for the November show to experience it first hand—after all, who can say no to an entire evening of comedy for just £6?

Four acts were lined up for the evening, with Charmaine Davies hosting. Rebekka Turner (a last minute addition to the programme after a last-minute cancellation by Katherine Atkinson) and Lady Harlotta herself made up the first half, with Fraser Geesin and Annabelski capping off the second. Rebekka kicked off the evening (rocking those superman style over-the-trousers pants by the way, Rebekka) with a series of hilariously surreal sketches.

Marianna Harlotta and her long-suffering violinist, Vladimir Chestikov, brought the first half to a close. The international soprano extraordinaire treated us to some rib-tickling renditions of popular songs—before that night, I had never realised that ‘The Thong Song’ would lend itself to an operatic style, but I would now go so far as to say that it surpassed even the masterpiece that was the original.  I was also deeply moved by Ms Harlotta’s final piece, a tribute to her mother featuring the soulful strains of ‘Psycho Killer’.

Topping up our drinks, we dived back into the second half. Fraser Geesin treated us to a few choice readings from his newly-penned fantasy book and the ultimate slash fiction short story (Tolkein and Martin, eat your hearts out). His offbeat, deadpan style had both of us in stitches by the end of the set and for anyone who enjoys a dry, surreal combination of gags and parody, Geesin is your man.

Comedian and performance poet Annabelski closed the evening’s entertainment with her signature brand of stand-up poetry, delivering observations on modern lesbian life and dating with wit, panache, and a couple of rhymes for good measure.

As an openly neurodiverse show, Lava Elastic aims to give an open and relaxed space for artists and performers who are neurodivergent. As someone with a late diagnosis of Asbergers, Sarah is keen to develop a space for performers to show off their acts in a relaxed environment, without feeling constrained by expectations or societal pressures. With a full house, some great acts and a pleased audience at the end of the evening, Lava Elastic is certainly off to a good start!

All in all, Lava Elastic was a great night of entertainment: excellent value for money, great sets and a truly diverse range of humour on offer.

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