Saturday 16th December @ SWG3
A Bongo’s Bingo review – it’s harder to write than one might think. I must say, that for this review I completely immersed myself into the event to ensure a complete experience, though this has left me with a somewhat sparse memory of the evening.
Upon arrival at the venue myself and some friends placed ourselves at one of the dozens of park benches that had been pulled into the venue for the bingo. We were given a booklet and a marker pen, got some drinks in, and waited for it to begin. Then onto the stage ran Sweaty Betty and Peggy, two assistants, and following them, the announcer himself. Immediately the audience came alive as a series of 90s classics started to fill the room, S-Club 7 fans will not have been disappointed, there was an abundance.
The game itself is hard to follow, especially when one is inebriated and you have to pick up the rules quite quickly. Admittedly I was taken aback at the stress of bingo, you really wouldn’t expect a game like this to be the pick of the pensioner (though I suppose not in a context quite so saturated by alcohol and cabaret style performances). Nevertheless I persisted – numbers are called at significant pace and there are quirks that one has to pick up on. For instance, whenever the number 7 is called everyone shouts back ‘Seeevveeerrn!’, there were undoubtedly others that I failed to notice.
If a call was ever made, Sweaty Betty and Peggy leaped over the barriers and charged toward the caller taking their booklet off them and checking their numbers. The prizes were of some variety, from cash to certain miscellaneous items that may be best left to the imagination for the purposes of a review. The cash prize value increased round by round, starting at about £40 and going into the hundreds and beyond. If there is more than one caller who has correctly announced then they are made to have a dance off and the winner is chosen by the audience. Two intoxicated strangers performing an animated dance off in a bid for cash is just as entertaining as you are envisioning, if not more.
Breaks are given between each game, which are very welcome but I would warn people that haste is important. The queue for drinks builds very quickly and you don’t want to get stuck ordering a drink while numbers start to get called because you definitely won’t be able to ask for them to be repeated. There are also intervals where bingo is transformed into a club night, people dance on the tables and rush towards the stage. After attending Bongo’s Bingo you could no longer think of bingo as a pensioners only activity.
It’s a raucous and blurry night to attempt to remember, the game itself is incredibly fast-paced and you would not think that 4 or 5 hours had passed since you arrived. The only reservations I have about the night is that the drinks are on the expensive side, and that it finishes at 11:30pm. Ticket prices start off quite reasonable with the early bird (around £10) but if you leave it to the last release and purchase a ticket for £15 you might feel a little short changed, only by the fact that it finishes so early and you presumably will still want to go out, and as such will have to spend more. The night is certainly worth experiencing and despite my initial hesitation, is one of the better nights in Glasgow that I have attended. If you win then I’m sure the cost would cover itself, but those of us less lucky might hope a £15 entry would take you through to the early hours. Perhaps I’m slightly bitter than I didn’t win anything, who knows. However, this is a unique and extremely entertaining evening, and a welcome fresh face to Glasgow’s nightlife.