My “Singing in the Bath” show started out as a Red Nose Day event in 2001 and was so successful that I took it to the Edinburgh Fringe the following year – Here is a short resume and a few reviews to big it up for you.
Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar or sometimes the banjo, he presents a mix of quirky songs and poems about bin liners, refrigerators, sex after 50, mice floating on giant cheeses….etc., performed (unplugged!) from the comfort of a foaming bathtub.
Hugely enjoyable and – yes – thought provoking!
Singing in the Bath Reviews…
“Is there room for another John Hegley? If he’s a Jonny Ball-like figure called Tony Winn, then the answer’s yes. Tony delivers a mixture of folksy songs and performance poetry with daily-life themes, largely naked from his bath. He is assisted by Matt, who sits dressed in a full dinner jacket and white tie on a stool next to the bath, and appears to be Tony’s butler. Due to this slightly odd set-up, the result is much more quirky than just any old poetry performance. Quirky yes, but a pleasant experience: the performers are charming and Tony is an accomplished singer and musician. The last song is a moving spiritual/gospel song, and sent me away satisfied with an hour well spent. Go and expect to smile, sing and tap your toes.”
**** THREE WEEKS
A Winning turn in the bath
To get noticed at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe you have to make a big splash. One way is to entertain an audience whilst having a sudsy bath live on stage.
That’s precisely what the Essex based Tony Winn did in his first show at the world’s biggest arts festival. Winn’s act is a curious mixture of self deprecating gags, clever home-grown songs and manic music-hall routines.
With only a tiny loin cloth to cover his embarrassment, Kelvedon man Winn spent the whole act sitting in a small hip bath. Any why not? (Why? is a more difficult question).
Winn’s one-hour set consisted of clever, funny and sometimes poignant songs, dry observations and some strange sparring with his on stage “manservant” (whose job it was to hand the recumbent entertainer his soap and bath towels).
Behind the foamy tomfoolery, Winn is a consumate performer. His many years experience working the folk clubs of East London shone through and notwithstanding the oddity of the bathing gimmick, you had to admire his self effacing showmanship.
The audience loved the act and roared for more. Catch his act if it comes your way…..you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but don’t blame us if you get wet.
Anyone who can write a heartfelt song about a manhole cover and then follow it up with one about a refrigerator is clearly barking mad. Or is he?
On second thoughts Tony Winn is clearly the sane one and it’s the rest of us that are lunatics. But there is hope for us is, like Winn, we sit back (preferably in a nice warm bath) and contemplate the minutia of modern life and decide to laugh at it and with it. Some of the jokes contained in the songs don’t always work but they are dispensed at such a rapid rate of knots that if you don’t like this one, the next one comes along before you know it and the song is soon back on course.
Lyrically he has the ability to mix humour and pathos like the wonderful Louden Wainwright. He is a gifted poet and his love of words is clearly evident; he’s not afraid to pack more of them into a song than is strictly good for it but somehow he gets away with it. There are echoes of the great Jake Thackeray in much of Winn’s work, and like Thackeray, it’s easy to forget that under all that eccentricity lies a fine musician. Winn is a good acoustic guitar and banjo player with a delicate touch..
Eventually Winn’s scattergun approach, coupled with an unashamed determination to play the gallery wears you down, and you give in and start laughing; not at him but with him. One to watch.
EAST ANGLIAN DAILY TIMES (album review)