In the mayhem surrounding the declaration of the election result in Putney last week, you may have noticed on the stage a cheeky chappie in oversized sideburns and glitzy jacket puffing a large cigar. While David Mellor and Sir James Goldsmith traded insults, he milked the moment for all it was worth. Meet Lenny Beige, international supper-club entertainer, crooner and parliamentary candidate (he gained a not inconsiderable 101 votes in Putney, better than four other challengers).
He is a performer with showbiz in his veins, an "international showbiz legend". As one critic put it, he is "a walking show-case of multi-talent... the future's bright, the future's Beige". He is, of course, a send-up, the inspired creation of Steve Furst, and has been building up a loyal audience amongst dedicated followers of fashion with regular seasons at London's irredeemably cheesy Regency Rooms.
Furst says that "Lenny is a cross between Tom Jones and Sammy Davis Jr. I'm dead set on getting tap-dancing lessons now. But in terms of his way of speaking, he's unique. If anything, his cheap one-liners plus his loquaciousness owe something to music hall."
Furst has been cultivating a hinterland for Beige. "He has a whole family tree," the comedian asserts. "Lenny has an illegitimate son in South America called Ricardo Beige, who has been recruiting bands from South Central Los Angeles. His mother made her money in kosher chicken giblets, while his grandfather Hymie was the Gusset King of Bow."
The comedian is now determined to flesh out his creation further. "The dark side of Lenny has started to come out more," Furst avers. "The other week he saw someone in the front row wearing trainers, so he took them off and threw them across the auditorium - `Do it in the comfort of your own home, but not here.' Lenny shouldn't have to see that.
Beige is now resident every Thursday at the Rheingold Club, in the modestly titled show, "Lenny Beige - One Man and his Talent". Furst promises that between easy listening songs his patter "will be based around the `Seven Ages of Man' speech. He has delusions of grandeur, he thinks he can give Shakespearean soliloquies as well as anybody. He applies the speech to his own life, so it becomes `The Seven Ages of Beige'. No subject is too grandiose for Lenny."
EYE ON THE NEW
The deeply dark and unsettling sketch combo, The League of Gentlemen, continue their splendid show about mad scientists and unhinged teachers at The Canal Cafe Theatre, London W2 (0171-289 6054) every Monday until 9 JuneReuse content