It’s already known as one of Manchester’s biggest party nights out – but Bongo’s Bingo has now gone super-sized.
Taking over Manchester Central’s vast main hall for three sold-out nights this week, the rave bingo has moved over from Albert Hall for the special events in order to give more fans the chance to get stuck in to the bonkers version of the traditional game.
For those who’ve been before, you can expect the same camp craziness, but played out on a bigger stage, with more zany costume changes from the cross-dressing “absinthe fairy” hosts and the added bonus of live music at the three nights in Manchester this week in the form of Blue’s Simon Webbe and Lee Ryan.
For those who haven’t been before, be assured that a night at Bongo’s Bingo really is one of those events that has to be seen to be believed.
3,000 revellers headed along for the Thursday night opener of Bongo’s Bingo XL, and from the moment the cheesy pop classics and rave anthems began to play, people were leaping on to their seats to get the party started.
But the bingo itself is deadly serious, with big prizes at stake – false calls are greeted with loud boos, and the unfortunate person gets singled out for some cheeky abuse from the on stage host. Mind you, the comedy prizes on offer tend to be more coveted than the big cash jackpots. Indeed, it would be hard to find a happier man alive than the chap who won life-sized cardboard cutouts of all four members of Blue, gleefully hugging them all as he took them back to his friends.
When the real Blue boys later take to the stage, they are given a hero’s welcome by the baying crowd who sing and dance along to their opener All Rise.
The joy of Bongo’s Bingo is not only how it stitches together a bingo game with a rave, but how it unites so many different people for a night of merriment – young and old happily raving along to songs by bands from The Proclaimers to The Prodigy. Despite the new setting’s huge space, they’ve cleverly managed to make it still feel intimate thanks to the trestle tables – no mean feat with 3,000 people expected at each event.
You need to embrace the silliness of it all and be game for a laugh, particularly if you end up in a dance-off situation on stage to compete for a prize.
The team behind Bongo’s Bingo have plans to take this XL concept out onto the road for a series of special events after the Manchester shows.
But fans can be rest assured that the regular Bongo’s Bingo will also be returning to Albert Hall for more shows scheduled in April and May.