Sunday, 24 January 2010

The Petty Concerns Of Luke Wright.

I've not seen much performance poetry (John Cooper-Clarke, Laura Dockrill, Phil Jupitus... i'm counting Tim Key and Tim Minchin, too), so i'm not what you you'd call an expert. In saying that, I really did enjoy 'The Petty Concerns of Luke Wright'.

The stories in-between the poetry borders on what i'd call stand-up. His humour is quite self-depricating and by the end of the show I didn't want to "laugh at him" anymore; more "laugh with him".

I found his poetry quite different all in all (never "samey") and the way he recites is very entertaining (full of energy, gestures and impersonations). At times, I found his style similar to Russell Brand - whom he brings up a few times in his anecdotes.

The Old Red Lion Theatre in Angel was a nice space for this show (I was so enthralled in the perfomance that I hardley noticed the creaking floorboard). This particular show was sold out and I ended up crunched up on a stair; which is one of the only criticisms I can give.

A thought.

Chin up, Simone, chin up.

Foster And Gilvan. Mr Solo. Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra.

A rather wonderful gig at the Luminaire in Kilburn on Friday night. I went mainly to see the Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra, but also really enjoyed Foster & Gilvan and Mr Solo.

Foster and Gilvan performed their set in the middle of the audience rather than the stage. Sometimes the delivery was almost at a whisper, which gave me goosebumps (i'm sure I wasn't the only one). My favourite song was about the things that happen down the back of a bureau "where the pens and the pencils play". They're fantastic storytellers.

I think Mikey Georgeson is most famous as lead singer "The Vessel" from David Devant and His Spirit Wife but tonight, however, he was Mr Solo. I loved when he was joined by the orchestra towards the end of his set; the trumpet during 'Pimlico' was ACE.

The Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra started off with "part one" of a new song about a 9 year old boy's train journey from London to Constantinople, very much looking forward to hearing the other parts at future gigs. They sang most of my favourites including 'The History of Europe', 'Thank You For Not Discussing' and 'Maybe' (I don't think i'll ever not giggle at the line "got caught killing a swan with a golf club, don't know why I did that"). Love it.

A thought.

I wish I could sing. If I could, i'd quite like to rock up to someone in particular's front door, knock, wait for them to answer and then start singing The Dresden Dolls' 'Good Day'.

Gloom Aid.

Blue Monday. It's supposedly the gloomiest day of the year and it was living up to its reputation until the evenings entertainment, Gloom Aid. The event was organised to raise money for the Depression Alliance and featured many a comedy and musical act including Mark Watson (compére), Alex Horne, Robin Ince, Frisky and Mannish, DJ Danny, Angelos Epithemiou, John Hegley and Mark Morris.

I've never seen Mark Watson comére before and thought he was absolutely brilliant in this role (his audience banter was superb). He said in his latest blog that he thinks he's getting better at his job as time goes by and I couldn't agree more.

Alex Horne is a rather wonderful stand-up comedian, it's quite a shame that he doesn't do much of it these days. I liked his material about using punctuation gestures during conversation and his Justin Timberlake style beat-box (which reminded me of the 'I Need A Little Time' YouTube clip he did with Tim Key and Tim Minchin's 'So Fucking Rock').

A pretty standard Robin Ince set, which is always a laugh. He made me smile so much when he wondered onstage in his coat and explained that he still had it "because he couldn't find a hook to hang it on".

DJ Danny is Chris Cox if Chris wasn't a magician and a Radio 1 producer, but a DJ and high-school teacher. An enjoyable set which finished with him mixing songs that you wouldn't expect to be mixed. Surprisingly good.

I think John Hegley is one of my favourite entertainers; poems, music, sillyness, quirk... what's not to like? I loved his song about Guillemots (he pulls some awesome shapes during this song).

Mark Morris from the Blutones closed the evening with special guest Matt Berry. I knew not of the Bluetones, nor of Mark Morris, but enjoyed the acoustics nevertheless.

A thought.

Do cool people have to work hard at being cool, or does it just come naturally?

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Soho Theatre. Cardinal Burns. Frisky And Mannish.

I'm so in love with Soho Theatre that i'm considering popping the question. Can you marry a theatre? They really have the best comedy shows in London and it's possible to see two shows in one night; awesome! Tonight's double bill was Cardinal Burns followed by 'Frisky and Mannish's School Of Pop'.

I'm really really digging sketch comedy at the moment and sketch comedy doesn't get much better than Cardinal Burns. All skits were very funny and their characters, spot-on. Class act.

I'd never witnessed the brilliance that is Frisky and Mannish before; just wow! Felicity Fritz-Frisky (aka Laura Corcoran) oozes charisma and her vocal range and impersonations are incredibly good (particularly enjoyed her Lilly Allen). Hansel Amadeus Mannish (aka Matthew Jones) has an immense amount of dancing and musical talent (he looks rather handsome in make-up and leggings). Quite the duo.

Their website gives the best description of what they like to call "twisted pop cabaret":

"They apply their academic style to every major pop icon from the past thirty years, ignore the inherited assumptions, and discover the underlying meaning, often far removed from the one universally accepted.

You want to know what to know what's actually going on beneath the vacuous pop propoganda of Lilly Allen, Chesney Hawkes, Girls Aloud, George Michael, Kate Nash and the Pussycat Dolls, among others? Come willing to learn, and you will leave with plenty."

Seriously, without a doubt, the best cabaret act I have ever seen.

A thought.

Tiernan Douieb (@TiernanDouieb) is the best at Twitter. On Sunday night he organised a #TwitterBrawl, which was so much fun and very very funny (he is also the brainchild of @tweetcomedyclub).

These where the rules (love it!):

RULES! 1) There are no rules! Except for the few that follow. Which means there are rules. Hang on. I'll start again.
RULES 2) Use whatever you want to brawl with. This includes chairs, other people, cacti, moose, spoons etc.
RULES 3) As already broken by @jonnywmills, so smack him up big time. It starts at 8pm!
RULES 4) Despite being a classic Western brawl, feel free to use phrases like 'Bring the muthafucking rawkus!' or 'I'm gonna lay the bitchin' smackdown!' I will be using both of these lots.
RULES 5) Everyone is involved in #twitterbrawl. Even if they aren't taking part in 'twitterbrawl. Hit anyone you like.
RULES 6) Cheesy action hero catchphrases are fully condoned. Saying 'spondoolicks' isnt.
RULES 7) If any law enforcement arrives...we smack them in their law faces too! And fire bridge. But not Chuck Norris.
RULES 8) There will be a man on a piano. If you attack him please make sure you provide the correct noises.

I think Tom Searle (@tomsearle) won. If not, he should have done.

Friday, 15 January 2010

100 Club Presents: Greg Davies.

Comedy nights at the 100 Club are always a lot of fun and this one was no exception. The line-up was stunning and featured the likes of Rufus Hound, Colin Hoult (as Anna Mann and Len Parker), Humphrey Ker and David Reed (as Dmitri and Vassily), Edward Aczel, Greg Davies and MC, Phil Nichol.

I find Phil Nichol's stand-up a little off-putting at times (over-animated and loud), his musical comedy is more up my street. It was the first time i'd heard his gay Eskimo song; hilarious.

Rufus Hound started off his set by saying that he'd booked this gig to try out new material, but hadn't written any, so we were going to get the tried and tested stuff. I thought his delivery was a little bit flat and that his jokes on religion had been done to death, but still very enjoyable.

Colin Hoult was my "comedy revelation" for the night; just wonderful. Len Parker's material about open hand/closed fist had me in fits of laughter. I definitaly need to check out more of this man's work.

Dmitri and Vassily (aka Humphrey Ker and David Reed) are very funny chaps; great improvised dialogue, however, I thought their set lost something when they sat down.

I've seen Edward Aczel do the same set a few times now. I do like the bit where he gets the audience to think "what's with that?" after his suggestions.

Greg Davies gave a great headlining set and had the audience in hysterics. He's a bit like that Uncle that most people have who tells funny stories and is genuinely lovely.

There's a great review by Emma McAlpine from Spoonfed here.

A thought.

I could be in a lot of trouble. Only time will tell.

James Sherwood At The Piano.

I was back at Etcetera Theatre for the second time this week to see James Sherwood At The Piano. I really love this venue for comedy as it's nice and intimate and always seems to draw a lovely and supportive audience.

After being entertained by Sherwood for and hour and a half, I am left slightly baffled as to why he's not that well known as a comedian; his charm and clever musical jokes are very likeable. I'd love to see him playing larger venues with a grand piano.

I loved his comical rant about Frank Sinatra's 'They Can't Take that Away from Me' "the way you wear your hat, the way you sip your tea... There's only one way to wear your hat. On top of your head. The way the Milliner intended. And there's only one way to sip your tea... Otherwise you'd spill it down your hat". His song about the family of bears, I think, will always be my favourite.

A thought.

I'm just one of those obsessive/over-thinking type people.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Mark Watson. Work In Progress. Soho Theatre.

I had tickets to see Mark Watson's 'Work In Progress' at Soho Theatre before Christmas, but something came up (Tim Key et al at the 100 Club) and I had to re-schedule. I'm glad I re-scheduled for this performance, as it had subtitles for the deaf which added some extra laughs. The show is really starting to take shape; a definite start and a definite end (plus embellishments).

I just love ad-libs, especially by comedians that i've seen too many times than is necassary/sane. Tonight Watson veered off on a short rant about Beyoncé saying that 'All The Single Ladies' annoyed him because she was just repeating the same line and then implied she was presumptuous "I think we'll decide how bootylicous you are, Beyoncé". Very funny.

A thought.

Life is too short to hate.

28 Years Later.

I hadn't seen Tiernan Douieb's '28 Years Later' since the Edinburgh Fringe, so was looking forward to catching it one last time (at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden) before Tiernan turned 29 and "shot the show in the face".

The lovely little venue and supportive (sell-out) audience worked in Tiernan's favour; he absolutely stormed it! My favourite gag is when he impersonates a whale who's a bit upset "no hat ever fits me". I do love a bit of silly comedy.

A thought.

I should probably be a little less trusting with strangers and my secrets.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Love Lost In The British Retail Industry.

I have seen a lot of Isy Suttie over the past year or so, but had yet to see her peform an entire show. I braved the snowy/icy London weather on Thursday night to see the run-through of 'Love Lost In The British Retail Industry' at the Hen and Chickens (which is now on it's way to the Sydney Arts Festival).

Her myspace page says "Sometimes I do characters like an old jazz singer or an American singersongwriter. Mostly I mix it up a bit so I am myself and other people a bit", which sums up her style of comedy rather nicely. To be honest, I was expecting her style/show to be quite similar to Tom Basden's.

I enjoyed her musical/whimsy/adorable/(sometimes) dark/(sometimes) dirty love story set in her hometown of Matlock. I love the fact that she's not afraid to be a little bit cooky and ridiculous.

With 10 minutes to spare at the end of the show, Isy decided to do a question and answer. An audience member asked her one question before she turned the questions on the audience and we all ended up giving her relationship advice; very funny.

A thought.

I read Chris Addison's 'Cautionary Tales For Grown-ups' on the train today (loved it!) and was quite surprised that it is written in verse.

I had a dream once where I was having curry at a restaurant with my parents and Chris Addison and Tim Key decided to join the end of our table (Addsion and Key seemed to be very good friends). I thought it was weird that my brain had coupled them together. As it turns out, not that weird.

The Slutcracker.

Would I go as far as saying that this is the best comedy show I have ever seen? Probably. It was my second time seeing Tim Key's Edinburgh Award winning show 'The Slutcracker' and, once again, it left speechless.

I adore The Invisible Dot Office and it was the perfect venue (small, intimate and a little bit different) to showcase this stunning show.

There are so many things I want to mention, so (in an attempt to prevent rambling) i'm going to write some lists of favourites.

The best bits.

Fletch, Tim's tech guy, plays a rather significant role in the show and is just brilliant (in my humble opinion). The banter between the two is very funny - I especially liked "Fletch, you are more or less in comedy".

How the show is broken up into different sections.

The various short films throughout; totally in love with 'Prologue'!

A headband wearing Key standing on top of a filing cabinet reading out a poem that is beautiful and tragic simultaneously.


Tim took his baton and "chinked" a chain dangling above his head (it was used to hang his jacket) and exclaimed "if you've got it, use it".

A police car drove past the venue with its sirens blazing and Tim quipped "sometimes they don't even know they're doing it".

Towards the very end of the show Tim stood by the entrance, slammed the door and said "if they're not here by now".

Fletch turned off the lights and shone a torch directly into Tim's eyes, to which Tim retorted "don't blind your employer, my friend".

Tim stood on/squashed a cake in an attempt to cross the stage without touching the floor, he turned to the audience and explained "I guess the phrase that springs to mind here is: don't tread it in. Well, that's what my Mum would say" (my Mum says that too!).

Moments of unease (the bits where Key says/does something that makes the audience squirm with discomfort).

Tim: [Poem] ... shoved his dick in Caroline. [to Sam; audience member] Have you done it?
Sam: Yes
Tim: Well, obviously not in Caroline. What was it like?
Sam: Warm.
Tim: I don't really think that's what they'd like to hear. What will you say next time?
Sam: It was lovely.
Tim: Yeah, it was lovely.

Tim stared directly at a lady in the front row and said "I want to have sex with you at least 100 times in the first 3 months". Tim took a really long pause (still staring at this girl) before reaching into his jacket pocket for his notebook and explaining that he couldn't remember the poem.

Fletch started playing a trumpet over a poem at and Tim shouted "DON'T LOOK AT HIM!".

A thought.

My friend, Anna, did a podcast and in it said [paraphrased] "people laugh differently at Tim Key gigs to anywhere else. Some people will not get it at all and find it quite off-putting, while others will kill themselves laughing in a way that you only do with your friends. The lack of punchlines, means the laughs are quite sparadic because people will find different things funny"- I couldn't agree more.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Kim Noble Will Die.

Last night I went to see 'Kim Noble Will Die' at Soho Theatre because it had been highly recommended by the people I follow on Twitter. It was a raw, emotional and explicit glimpse at a man suffering from mental illness.

I watched quite a bit of the show behind my hands. It was certainly challenging and shocking and depressing.

Noble doesn't talk much during the show and mostly relies on a series of clips, audio recordings and photographs to tell his tale.

There's an interesting article about the show in the Guardian here.

A thought.

I really hope Kim Noble is going to be alright.