In the tucked-away artist's space of Arch 21, Valentia Place, in Brixton, lit by "pretty fairy lights," some special theatrical magic is happening. Daniel Cerqueira has been performing his show Danny is Fantastic on and off since last year, usually in three show bouts. With Cerqueira operating as a one-man band (director, producer, prop guy, pianist and performer, among other roles), the evening is a truly intimate one that's for audiences of up to 30 people - and that intimacy is essential to its impact.
Different every night, with Cerqueira wryly describing the show as "so live," Danny is Fantastic feels very much like a shared secret journey that both connects the audience to each other and brings each one of us back to ourselves. The 90 minute show zips by - inclusive but not intrusive (there's no forced audience participation but you might get a song sung to you, and you're invited to leave a "remnant" of yourself behind at the end), deeply personal but always reaching out.
There are songs beautifully sung in Portuguese, French and English, special serenades, surreal silliness (What is behind the green door...?), skits, readings (Claude McKay and GBS on the night we attended), poems (including "Poems on One Knee"), reminding us again and again how much is out there to engage with, be inspired by. In sharing personal stories of his grandmother's life or a neighbour's encouragement in the arts, Cerqueira stirs the audience's memories, too - especially in a deeply moving and cathartic "Memento Mori" moment. Oh, Danny Boy...it's a gorgeous, restorative evening.
For information about future shows see the website here.