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Bounder & Cad: the funniest act you’ve never heard of?





Cult following may be putting it too strongly – but some audience members have been returning to Bounder & Cad’s monthly show at Piccadilly’s Crazy Coqs club as many as six times.

Some have reported their faces “hurting from laughter” – and one punter at their show this month told them that they’re the “most engaging act he’s seen since seeing Led Zeppelin in 1975”, before adding: “But that certainly seems like putting it a bit strongly.”

Bounder & Cad at Downing Street. Picture: Alan Kerr
Bounder & Cad at Downing Street. Picture: Alan Kerr

Meeting as undergraduates at the University of Cambridge in 2006, Adam Drew and Guy Hayward, who now live in London, sang in college choirs, and Adam started writing comedy songs for shows with the renowned Cambridge Footlights.

First, they formed a jazz act to blag tickets to May Balls.

Adam, who is also an actor and an alumnus of Clare College, where he studied classics, remembers: “The May Balls at the end of the academic year are great fun, but damned expensive.

“People do all sorts of adventurous things to sneak in, like abseiling and scuba diving – but we thought jazz would be our way.

“We both like Frank Sinatra, so we basically had a Rat Pack double-act with piano, bass and drum backing, performing jazz standards.”

Then they turned to Adam’s comedy material. One of the first songs was a song about Prince Harry, in 2012, when the young royal was in the news for “rather different reasons to now”, to the tune of Prince Ali from Disney’s Aladdin. Uploaded to YouTube, it got a fair few hits.

Guy, a former Bath Abbey choir boy, who studied music at Trinity College, notes: “We just added a montage of images to accompany the lyrics, and it made enough of a splash that it came to the attention of the world’s number one Prince Harry impersonator – and he actually offered to collaborate with us.

“So we recorded a rap called The Fresh Prince: The Spare Heir. It was such a random thing, but that did quite well too.”

Adam also recalls the duo’s “very lucky” London debut, in 2013 at 10 Downing Street, no less.

“This was only because a clever friend of ours was working for David Cameron, in the days of the coalition government,” he explains, “and the expenses scandal had broken recently – so they couldn’t be seen to be spending too much money on a band.

“They were offering a rather modest fee – so this friend of ours thought of us.”

Guy interjects: “It’s the best excuse we’ve ever had for a bad fee, I think – a national expenses crisis!”

“But you can’t really say no to Downing Street,” says Adam.

Guy remembers: “It was the staff Christmas party. A pretty surreal first London gig!”

Bounder & Cad at Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed. Picture: Naomi Campbell
Bounder & Cad at Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed. Picture: Naomi Campbell

Bounder & Cad, who have also played shows in Barbados, Mustique, the library of Highclere Castle (think Downton Abbey), and on a yacht off Portofino, have even opened for Tom Jones.

They will be performing at the Cambridge Arts Theatre on 6 July. What can we expect to see and hear at the gig?

“We’ll be serving up a smorgasbord of our best-received numbers from over the years,” replies Adam.

“We recorded a programme for BBC Radio 4 Extra called Funny Valentine, looking at questionable lyrics in love songs through the ages.

“We’ve been performing this bit for a while, and it always seems to get the best response.”

Guy adds: “We do a social media version of La Donna E Mobile, about a woman and her mobile phone, which is obviously what it means… then a Putin version of Sugar Plum Fairy, a lingerie version of Bach’s Air on the G String…”

“A calypso about tax evasion, which was inspired by our recent tour to the Caribbean,” says Adam, “we probably won’t be invited back...

“Then a Yorkshire version of New York, New York – turned Old York, Old York – which was actually first premiered in Cambridge, at the University Arms Hotel.

“We might also attempt to sing all 25 James Bond title songs, with the lyrics adapted to tell the story of each film, in under 007 minutes.”

They acknowledge that “fame will prove elusive for such a niche act – but anyone who comes to our show does seem to really enjoy it”.

Perhaps they are the greatest two-man post-choral musical-comedy act you’ve never heard of…

Bounder & Cad, who have a monthly residency at leading West End cabaret venue the Crazy Coqs club, will appear in Cambridge – “where it all began” – on Saturday, 6 July.

They will be accompanied by “a sizzling jazz trio of piano, double bass and drums”.

Bounder & Cad. Picture: Will Corder
Bounder & Cad. Picture: Will Corder

Tickets, priced £30, are available from cambridgeartstheatre.com. For more on Bounder & Cad, go to bounderandcad.com.



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