'One-off talent' Laura Bacon's Mavis the fox returned to Haverhill Arts Centre for a unique show with BBC Radio Suffolk's Georgy Jamieson
An Everso Lovely Evening With Mavis – Laura Bacon with Georgy Jamieson at Haverhill Arts Centre.
Review by David Hart.
Fans of Suffolk phenomenon Mavis enjoyed a treat on Friday evening when she returned to Haverhill with her unusual mix of local memories, chat and humorous videos.
Mavis struck up a regular partnership on Saturday mornings on BBC Radio Suffolk with Georgy Jamieson during the pandemic, and her entertaining little slot ‘Durin’ The Virus’, although it is now coming to an end, created a whole new fanbase for the little bespectacled fox – and many of them made the trip to distant Haverhill for this show, helping to swell a packed house.
Set out in an informal cabaret-seating style, the evening moved easily between chats, videos and songs, via the raffle and an interval quiz.
It is quite extraordinary how relatively slim content can become so consistently entertaining in the hands of a puppet-master who not only created, operates and voices the delightful leading character, but also directs, produces and edits the series of wide-ranging and hilarious videos which fill in the necessary breaks to rest her arm.
But Laura Bacon is a one-off talent, if ever there was one, and this celebration of Suffolk-ness is just another facet of a career which has already led her to fame on Britain’s Got Talent, and which sends her around the world in a bewildering variety of guises within the entertainment industry.
Mavis, partly based on Laura’s grandmother, captures so much of a culture which Suffolk natives may well fear is disappearing in the modern world.
We are lucky to have such an articulate and committed champion pretty much all to ourselves, because much of this show would be almost incomprehensible outside Haverhill.
Georgy Jamieson – whose function, like all Laura’s ‘feeds’, was to be embarrassed by the quicksilver wit of the star sallying regularly off piste while she struggled to keep up – admitted she was herself only inducted that morning into the competing qualities of Top, Middle and Bottom Fowlers, a common subject of dispute among Haverhillians.
A guest appearance from the puppeteer herself and her hilarious backing of singing chickens doing the Chattanooga Choo Choo, provided unexpected further variety within this unique tapestry of truly local entertainment.