Taking a night off from his role as ‘Herbert’ in the Milton Keynes pantomime ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, the talented Kev Orkian wowed last night’s theatre audience with a memorable one-man show, writes Alan Wooding.
He’s been something of a phenomenon since first appearing on our television screen in the popular ITV ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ show back in 2010 when Simon Cowell described him as a ‘One Trick Pony’ after he had successfully come through the first audition with a clever rendition of a damaged CD of Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’.
Yet this brilliant piano playing comedian, north London-born of Armenian parents, offers a very special brand of cheeky humour which many have likened to that of the late, great Danish piano virtuoso Victor Borge.
And on Wednesday that talent shone through as his 90 minute show drew rapturous applause from a packed Milton Keynes auditorium.
Already a big star in many people’s eyes well before his television debut, Kev has been entertaining international audiences for almost a decade. And the new city theatre audiences have certainly taken to him over the past two pantomime seasons after he first appeared as ‘Buttons’ in ‘Cinderella’ with Louis Spence in 2012 and again as the hapless and hilarious ‘Herbert’ in the current production of ‘Snow White’ with Warwick Davis which runs until this coming Sunday.
From the moment his pre-show credits rolled across the big screen – taking the mickey out of Britain’s immigration situation – to the hilarious arrival of his Armenian ‘mother’ (obviously one of the seven dwarfs) – she had tricked the authorities by getting into the country hidden in his piano! – the whole show was a massive hit.
He brilliantly repeated the Elton John CD sketch while he was also accompanied by beautiful blonde operatic singer Shelley Rivers who sang an aria from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance.
Kev not only accompanied her on the piano but he also joined in the ‘singing’, much two everyone’s amusement. It was a moment of sheer brilliance and one which he had previously played out with Katherine Jenkins on a television special.
Only once did he drop his fake Armenian accent and display his north London roots, but the whole show was one of real quality, his virtuoso performances on the keyboard marking him out as a remarkable all round performer and entertainer.
An arena tour has been planned in South Africa for April before he sets off for the Middle East later that month. He then returns to South Africa in June and July to headline the Vodacom Funny Festival – and that makes him the first British comedian to top the bill there three times in a row.
Kev has also successfully performed across the Atlantic in New York, Las Vegas and Toronto besides adding Australia, Oman and Dubai to his list of comedy conquests while off stage he is an avid charity worker. He is the co-founder of the International Trust Fund for Orphans (ITFO) which raises much needed funds for orphaned children around the world.
He has also performed regularly for the British Forces Foundation (BFF), touring many Army and Naval bases around the world, many of the trips having been arranged in conjunction with his friend Jim Davidson.
If he comes back to Milton Keynes for a third pantomime season, then makes sure that if he plays another one night, one man show, then get yourself a ticket … you certainly won’t regret it!