Dabbers Social Bingo are delighted to debut at Latitude festival. We’re reigniting this beautiful game for the 21st century with music, comedians, glorious prizes, show stopping performers and plenty of hidden tricks.
Dabbers advertises itself as “social bingo” which is obviously an enticing idea. I arrived with an open mind and a vague guess as to what I was about to go through. Something along the lines of speed dating, but with a less obvious and clinical agenda? Some getting-to-know-you party games, with a side order of people being humiliated on stage? At any rate I assumed it would have the random-but-fun element of “bingo” and the meeting-and-chatting-to people element of “social”. What I did not expect was for it to be just bingo.
As far as I could work out the “social” part of the name was short for “not just for old people, and also there will be occasional compulsory disco dances”. If you do not like being told to get up on your feet and dance to number-related songs (“Everybody get up” when the 5-ball came up, for example), you would probably be better off going to normal bingo.
The crowd on Sunday were enthusiastically game for the “social” aspect and the result was cheerful bubbly village fête fun. When more than one person had a full house they had to battle it out for a prize on stage in various challenges. The flossing challenge was predictably awkward (also, a bit 2017) but the mood was good and everyone cheered along supportively as an embarrassed teenager claimed his flip flops. But the highlight of the show was the kung fu competition (humourously set to “Kung fu fighting”) which was dominated by an unrepentantly competitive and maniacal lady whose flailing attempts at martial poise hilariously mismatched her lunatic swivel-eyed glare. During the cheer-led vote there was a residual feeling of guilt in the crowd as the eager presenter tried to rally support for a child who was on the stage and who had clearly done her best. Everyone was clapping at a volume they judged to be low enough to ensure her failure, and the hypocrisy did not sit easily. But when the winner was presented with the fishy flip flops (or “fish flops”) her undisguised pride and childish delight put everyone at ease. What’s right is right.
Apart from all the ribbons and feathers, colouring in a sheet of numbers in a deterministic fashion is actually quite good fun by itself. I can see why it appeals to the ancient.