Basile returned to the UK this week after four long years, and boy was it worth the wait!
The internationally acclaimed comedian had the Greek and Cypriot community, not forgetting the xeni (!), crying with laughter as he brought his brand new Greek Mystique show to London’s Millfield Theatre over the weekend for three performances.
I attended the Sunday evening sold out performance with special guest, the ultimate Elvis tribute artist, Mario Kombou, and wow, what a show! Now I’ve seen these guys countless times before, so I expected amazing material from both, but nothing prepared me for what I was about to witness later that evening!
Mario was first to take the stage. Just as the King always did, he made his entrance to the sound of the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme tune before breaking into the first song of the evening, That’s Alright (Mama). Thereafter he continued with Welcome To My World, The Wonder Of You, Sweet Caroline (with the entire audience swaying from side to side), In The Ghetto, and of course the biggest crowd pleaser Suspicious Minds – complete with hip thrusting, which Mario joked he had saved till after 8pm!
And then it was Basile’s time to shine. As he entered the theatre, dancing along to the Pulp Fiction theme tune, making his way down the stairs towards the stage, we just knew we would be in stitches for the rest of the evening.
He started off by addressing the non-Greeks in the audience; those he singled out were teased throughout the show!
He proceeded to speak about the agony he had to endure having to stay home when the comedy circuit screeched to a halt in March 2020, along with the rest of the world, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The rules change when we’re all under the same roof,” he said. “You’ve got to spray every time you use the bathroom, now it smells like I shit a Christmas tree,” cue uncontrollable laughter from the audience.
Or when he told his wife he just can’t see himself helping out around the house by washing pots and pans, so she placed a mirror in front of the sink and asked him, “how about now?!”
Basile declared his love for Cypriot food, hilariously comparing the different words used: ‘koubebyia’ and ‘dolmades’, ‘pastitsio’ and ‘makaronia tou fournou’.
He teased Greek soldiers for wearing a foustanella (pleated skirt) with huge pom poms on their feet; Greek women spring cleaning their house the day before the cleaner visits; and how his American friends pronounce certain Greek sweets like – let-your-booty-grow, translated – galatoboureko!
The jokes kept coming as the audience struggled to catch their breath. The US sensation shared his peculiar food preference, ‘koliva’ (boiled wheat used in the Orthodox Church for commemorations of the dead), ‘but someone has to die’, and poked fun at his family members (the comedy skits about his Yiayia are the best) – all the while his mannerisms and facial expressions causing rapturous outbursts of laughter from the crowd.
Basile then called Mario back to the stage to perform a couple of numbers whilst he took a short break, but what followed was without a doubt the highlight of the evening!
With no prior rehearsal and minimal preparation, Basile, dressed in an Elvis puffer shirt and wide buckle belt, joined Mario for their rendition of It’s Now Or Never (O Sole Mio).
The audience laughed as the comedian displayed his funny dance moves and struggled to keep up with the lyrics, but OMG, what a voice! Who knew Basile had the voice of an angel?!
The pair continued with Are You Lonesome Tonight, with the spoken section of the song hilariously improvised by the comedian. And whilst Mario handed out scarves to a few lucky ladies, Basile instead threw them each a pastourma (spicy Cypriot sausage) – don’t ask, you had to be there to see the whole scenario!
The evening ended on a high with everyone singing along to Viva Las Vegas and Can’t Help Falling In Love.
The way both Basile and Mario connected with the audience and bantered with each other was incredible. It’s not a night we’ll forget in a hurry!
After the show, the two caught up with fans in the theatre bar for a chat and to take photos.
A huge well done to Maria and Peter Chambi-Frampton of 1 to One Events and to our community comedy act Chris Marco K who supported Basile during the Saturday evening performance – I heard the audience had an absolute blast!
Basile’s tour was once again a phenomenal success and we look forward to welcoming him back to our shores in the not too distant future.
Photos: Angelina Styliana Photography