The critics divided over this week’s “mockumentary” about Spandau Ballet’s Kemp brothers, though Andy Polaris finds himself a bit of a fan.
The Kemps All True is a surprisingly deft spoof documentary based on the Spandau Ballet stars ill-fated revamp revolving solely around the two charismatic brothers Martin and Gary, Spandau Kemp. Chock-full of well-known British cameos (Christopher Eccleston, Daniel Mays, Anna Maxwell Martin) it follows their attempted relaunch including a guest star covers album where ‘Sia’ and the gruff-voiced ‘Rag and Bone Guy’ both murder True, a song they had reserved for a popular girl band.
Interwoven are real clips from the band’s history leading up to the current 40th anniversary where they are rudderless and searching for new streams of income including an unappealing sounding meat replacement vegan product called Wonge and a charitable retirement project. The hour whizzes by due to a cavalcade of witty observations about vintage pop stars (ie, playing private parties for oligarchs for considerable financial rewards and celebrity endorsements for dodgy products), piercing their Photoshop vanity and pretentious public images.
The Gary Kemp art collection was very funny especially Ronnie Wood’s portrait. Let’s just say it wasn’t a Dorian Gray portrait Gary was trying to hide from view.
Like the popular Bros documentary, theirs plays on the sibling rivalry, the difference being the Kemp brothers are in on the joke and show a previously unknown flare for comedy. There is a triple finale of amusing scenarios which starts with a hilarious attempt to sneak into a live BBC broadcast to hijack the airwaves for a comeback single no one is playing. Followed by a career move that lands them both in hospital ruminating on their clout-chasing choices.
Credit most also go to director-producer and writer Rhys Thomas for convincing them to take a punt on something different that will surely be up for a Bafta and career highlight for the brothers, comedy GOLD in fact. Geddit?
VIEW The Kemps All True – Rhys Thomas interviews Gary and Martin Kemp about their lives and careers following Spandau Ballet’s 40th anniversary celebrations – at the BBC iPlayer.