Everyone's a winner at this Studio show that's part disco party, part gameshow
The first thing to know about The Miss Behave Gameshow is that it does exactly what it says on the tin: it is an actual game show with competitors, points, winners and losers.
As the audience enters the theatre they’re divided into two teams – iPhone users on the right and everybody else on the left – who pit their wits, spirit, tenacity and bodies against each other in a series of simple games for the next hour and a bit.
Some of the games involve your phone – be prepared to take a selfie and text in an answer – but most are analogue and simply require you to shout out, stand up in your seat, dance, get up onto the stage or “do anything for a point” (a lusty onstage pash or flashing your particularly funny underwear might get you over the line). And make sure you pay attention to the cardboard-covered set if you’re looking for a bonus point.
Overseeing the competition and guiding the audience through the pumping music and fierce competition is hostess and games mistress Miss Behave, a glittery human mirror ball and the alter-ego of London cabaret artist Amy Saunders. Saunders has spent several years touring with La Clique and La Soirée, swallowing swords and acting as a host. This is a totally lo-fi show by comparison, with a much smaller cast (it’s mostly just Miss Behave and her glamorous assistant Tiffany), but it manages to be more explicitly fun, from beginning to end.
Miss Behave is a commanding presence but flexible enough to respond to whatever might be happening in the audience and adjust the games accordingly. She encourages the audience to think for themselves and show initiative – although she never forces anybody to participate – and reminds that cheating is perfectly OK. Sometimes the creative solution to a particular challenge will win you points over the ‘correct’ solution; so if you don’t know the name of a TV show when you’re asked to “name that TV theme”, just find a way to show your enthusiasm or your killer dance moves. Or alternatively, perform the enter rap that opens The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
Between rounds, while Miss Behave tallies the points (they can really build up if you’re doing things right) the tattooed and mustached Tiffany gives short bursts of acrobatic performances that may have you reconsidering certain aspects of your sexuality.
Despite all this silliness, the show comes with a surprisingly resonant socio-political message: you will only get what you want if you stand up, use your voice and demand it. It might just be chanting for your team to get ten points for winning a game that was meant to be worth only one (it could work if you chant loud enough), but Miss Behave wants us to take these lessons out into the real world.
Everything might be fucked and it’s probably going to take a bigger revolution to save this planet than the one happening in the Opera House’s Studio space. But Miss Behave does a surprisingly good job of activating her audience and pushing them towards taking action.