One of the many wonderful events that takes place at Upstairs at the Ritzy is Reggaeoke, a night of reggae-themed karaoke. Arts contributor Petra Gent went along to it last Sunday.
Upstairs at The Ritzy continues to offer an eclectic mix of entertainment throughout the week and on every one of my visits the room is always comfortably full. Sunday night’s Reggaeoke event was no exception.
Reggaeoke claims to be London’s first reggae karaoke night and has been running since July 2014. It is clearly a popular event and some of this is definitely due to the energy and charisma of the host Janine Yates, but there is also an intimacy about the venue that helps with the confidence of getting on stage and performing in front of strangers.
Host Janine has a real talent for making everyone in the room feel at ease, and to ensure nobody had to be the first act on for the night she did the honours herself, with her amiable DJ joining in with a very animated rendition for the second song.
This seemed to give the room the confidence to start signing up on the song slips and there was a steady flow of performers throughout the evening, including some who’d been signed up by their family and friends. Don’t you love it when people do that to you?!
The song book includes some favourite classics including Uptown Top Ranking, Silly Games, No Woman No Cry and You Don’t Love Me. There is plenty of choice, with quite a few numbers that were new to me.
The system allows you to sign up for a song online before hand, or just fill in song slips for the shoe box during the evening. The evening consisted of solo performers, duets and groups of three or four on stage together. Hats off to the solo performers, they really gave it their all!
I should confess to not having performed on this occasion – but maybe next time. I did join in with the dancing.
Reggaeoke is a regular event for Upstairs at the Ritzy, so plenty of opportunities to go along and enjoy.