Saturday, 13 February 2010

Tim Key. The Slutcracker. Soho Theatre.

The Lorenz Auditorium at Soho Theatre is the biggest venue i've seen Tim Key play solo. 'The Slutcracker' has come to London following it's sell-out, award winning run at the Edinburgh Fringe last year. I've seen this show (a favourite!) in quite a few venues and there were some really great adaptations in this space; a joy to witness.

I'm ashamed to find that there was a poem I didn't recall until I saw it at Soho Theatre. It has been given appropriate lighting (mirror ball/spotlight) and music by his trusty sound guy, Fletch, and now really stands out. It was what Key called a "sexy poem" and starts off on a little bit of a vulgar tone (talking about a man who "shoved his dick" in his partner), but then turns full circle to become a rather romantic piece. Genius.

The quest to get from the back of the theatre to on top of a fridge (a fridge-freezer, I might add) has become a lot harder and also, a lot funnier (a large percentage of the audience become involved, too). I really like how he reads half a (heartbreakingly brilliant) poem from the back of a Prince Charles photograph that is strewn on the floor, and the other half from the back of a postcard that was stuck to the fridge.

Fletch usually plays a big role in the show, but I did find that he blended into the background this time. I think it's because not everyone can see/hear him as he's situated inside a glass booth; bit of a shame (can't be helped, really...).

The only other niggle I have has nothing to do with the actual show. A very enthusiastic fan sat front and centre and tried to draw attention to herself throughout. I know that certain words/looks/gestures from Key can make you laugh so much your belly hurts, but the way she was carrying on was rather ridiculous (in my opinion).

Key is hot property at the moment (with appearances on TVand radio, as well as headlining comedy gigs and receiving rave reviews) and I think his popularity is only set to rise.

A thought.

I really hope I come across as the supportive/lovely fan rather that the creepy/weird stalker-fan.

Jonny Sweet. Mostly About Arthur. Soho Theatre.

Jonny Sweet's 'Mostly About Arthur' won the Edinburgh Comedy Award for best newcomer and rightly so; an hour of lovely, funny, clever, silly and, at times, awkward humour. The studio at Soho Theare was a great space for this show - a memorium about his bereaved brother, who was a respectable blurbist.

Powerpoint presentations, a game (Pear Touch anyone?) and a play (who wants to be the table? Chandelier? Coffee Machine?) only enhance the charm. Sweet's character is just adorable; my smile never faded and his quips/mannerisims/sayings would always rouse a giggle ("soz", "simmer down", they way he'd pause to tuck in his shirt and his nervous/cheeky laugh were favourites).

I'm really looking forward to seeing it again next weekend.

A thought.

Going to see the same show numerous times may seem silly to some, but it's what I do.

Tom Wrigglesworth. An Open Return Letter To Richard Branson Recording.

I hadn't seen Tom Wrigglesworth before, well, i've never seen his comedy before (he walked past me once and I couldn't get over how tall he was). He's a really lovely stand-up who reminds me a little bit of Daniel Kitson/Terry Saunders.

'An Open Return Letter To Richard Brandson' is about Wrigglesworth's eventful train from London to Leeds on a Virgin train. It was nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy Award and is the kind of show that leaves you feeling happy and uplifted.

It was edited down to 30 minutes and recorded for Radio 4; should air next month.

A thought.

I'm rubbish at keeping in touch with my family in Australia and they're rubbish at keeping in touch with me.

Pajama Men. Soho Theatre. (Again).

It was the last show of the Pajama Men's (2 month) Soho Theatre run and my 3rd time seeing this particular show. Due to popular demand they extended their run and added 4 late night shows at the weekends during the last two weeks. In doing so, they became the most successful show at Soho Theatre.

It wasn't Shenoah and Mark's most sober show (their words, not mine), but it was still very very good. The scene where Dan and Jennifer share secrets was full of gagging - a scene they've obviously done way too many times, and in such close proximaty, that gagging would be inevitable.

Always the professionals, you would never have known that this was their second performance of the night; miming, characters and accents were extremely polished.

A thought.

This article by Jon Richardson really got my mind ticking. I think the reason why I am single (and have always been) is because I don't want a significant other to be subjected to my imperfections.

Party. Recording Of Episodes 1 & 3.

When I found out that 'Party' was going to be recorded for Radio 4, I got a little bit over-excited. It was one of my favourite shows at the Edinburgh Fringe last year and I couldn't/can't wait to hear the adapted version (episode 1) and latest installments (episodes 2, 3 and 4). The recordings are taking place at the Pleasance over 3 weeks, and I was fortunate enough to get tickets for all 3. The first recording featured episodes 1 and 3.

'Party' is about a group of young people starting a political party and focuses on them deciding what they are going to stand for (policies/beliefs etc). It is written by Tom Basden (who plays Simon) and also stars Tim Key (as Duncan), Katy Wix (as Phoebe), Anna Crilly (as Mel) and Jonny Sweet (as Jarred).

The writing is a touch of genius from Basden and all the actors are just wonderful in their roles. I wonder if Key, Wix, Crilly and Sweet helped with the dialogue for their characters as it always suitibly fitting.

The pick-ups are always a favourite, and there were some particularly hilarious ones at this recording. Key was asked to eat pringles into the microphone and took great joy in prolonging the task. Eventually, he was told by the producer that it was mainly only the crunch that they were after (a very polite way of telling him to hurry up). Basden piped up and said it wasn't necessarily Key that had to do the pringle eating - they could all have a turn.

I'm sure hearing the lines "you made me have and, Mel", "Gladios - it's Latin for sword", "it's the thought that would have counted" and "I just hit my front" "you mean your face?" "Yeah", will still make me giggle uncontrolably when I hear them on the radio

A thought.

My dreams have been most peculiar this week: Tim Minchin and his love of orangutans to watching a film at the cinema on a toilet with my pants around my ankles (everyone was on a toilet with their pants around their ankles in this cinema, it wasn't just me).

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Work In Progress. Cardinal Burns. Idiots Of Ants.

I just love sketch comedy at the moment. If I ever tried to get into comedy, i'd love to be part of a sketch group. Idiots of Ants were rather polished considering it was only a work in progress show while Cardinal Burns gave a rather shambolic performance which didn't diminish the laughs.

There was only one Idiots of Ants sketch that I thought needed a bit of work; I do, however, think their material is rather "samey". I got a serious case of the giggles when a line that Elliot thought was going to be greated with a lot of laughter, fell a bit flat and then exclaimed "well, that's the last time I say that".

I felt that most of the audience had come to see Idiots as there was a rather uncomfortable vibe in the audience as Cardinal Burns took to the stage with their slightly darker sketches. They had 2 new sketches (1 of which only seemed to be added to kill time - a decoy??) and showed 2 films in between some older sketches. I really loved the film they ended on; genius!

A thought.

I think i'm getting better at this talking to strangers business. Jolly good.

Falling Down With Laughter's 5th Birthday Bash.

The tiny little room under Belushi's in London Bridge is a great venue for comedy (despite the brown walls), the audiences are usually very supportive and Alexis and Sy are lovely hosts. It's quite a long way from home and falls on a Tuesday which means that if the line-up isn't OMG-worthy, I don't usually go. The 5th Birthday special featured the likes of Cat of the Week, Lucy Porter, Justin Edwards as Jeremy Lion - the children's entertainer, Tim Key and Rob Deering, so, I went.

The description of Cat of the Week on their facebook page reads "silly, surreal, dark sketch group", so it's no surprise to say that I really enjoyed their set. Alexis Dubus, Sy Thomas and Steve Mould showcased 3 sketches (they only have 5, apparently) all of which were silly, surreal and dark. Brilliant.

Lucy Porter's set centred around two books; a girly book from her youth and a language book that she bought in Indonesia that taught English people how to pick up Indonesian women. The girly book went over my head and the book she bought in Indonesia was funny in a very creepy way.

Jeremy Lions split the crowd a bit, I just so happen to think that his set was hilarious (no matter how many times I see it). He plays a drunkard that uses alcoholic beverages as puppets to tell the story of 'Goldilocks and the 3 Bears'. I really don't know how he can consume so much alcohol in such a short amount of time (!).

It'd been a whole month since I last saw Tim Key perform, so I was rather looking forward to it. He didn't disappoint (he never does) and even had some new political poems (Gordon and Sarah Brown + a glass eye + Twitter = GOLD). His banter with the audience included offering a man a job (the gentleman was unemployed) and telling a (very rude and roudy) woman that he didn't like her body language when she questioned his choice of verb (SLAM!). Tim gave the audience a bit of back story before he started reciting 'Malcom' "the cashier is chubby. Not fat, just ill-disciplined" - love it.

My music knowledge is quite appalling and I don't really think I got as much out of Rob Deering's set as I should have done because of this (the material I really enjoyed, I had seen before). His set ran for about 40 minutes and by the end, I just wanted to be home and tucked up in bed (it was 12.30am before I could do so).

A thought.

I'm such a comedy snob - I tut at people who don't show good etiquatte at gigs. I think this makes me as much of a twat as the heckler.


Git (or "Soapy Git Wank, as Dan Atkinson wanted to call it) is a new comedy panel show with Jon Richardson, Lloyd Langford and Dan Atkinson. It's all about judging things (people, objects, wine etc) on first impressions and is destined for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The work in progress shows are taking place in the delightful little room above the Salmon and Compass in Islington.

Dan asks the questions and looks after the technical side of the show while Jon and Lloyd battle it out to become the winner. These 3 gentlemen complement each other so well and by the time they're ready to take it to Scotland during the summer, i've no doubt, they'll be onto something great.

My friend had travelled from Pontypridd in Wales to catch the show and when this information became general knowledge, Lloyd came over and gave her the box containing the ticket money - hilarious.

I'm not sure if it was venue, lovely hosts or nice company (perhaps all 3?) but this gig had a lovely warm and inviting feel to it; a truly splendid evening.

There were some rather wonderful photographs taken by Edward Moore on the night and can be seen here.

A thought.

I'd like to get rid of the people in this world that make me feel rather shit, it would save me a lot of tears.


This gig almost felt like it was a dream, particularly when I was whipped by a curtain tie (Sir Tim's belt) as he tried to fix a broken mic and then rush back to his "burger van" (what...?). I put it down to the slightly odd venue (Fymfyg Bar in North East London), strange starting and finishing time (12am - 3am) and the fact that it was rather shambolic (just the way I like it). In between the regular bunch (Andrew Maxwell, Tim Fitzhigham Lady Carol and the breakdancers) were Milton Jones, Carl Donnelly and Phil Kay.

I was a little bit slow during Milton Jones' set and at times I had just "got" the previous joke as he was halfway through telling the next one. If you're not a fan of puns or one-liners, then Milton Jones is not for you. At fullmooners if a joke goes down well, a spotlight appears in the middle of the stage and the audience "howls at the moon" - a ritual that Milton looked totally bemused by.

I haven't seen much of Carl Donnelly, but his set at Fullmooners has made me think I should. He got his laughs (and howls) by telling stories about his life (Eric Lameart's style is very similar) - my favourite was his 9/11 story from back when he was "a proper cunt".

Phil Kay seemed a bit lost during his set; he asked the audience questions which were addressed by blank stares. Not his finest work, but he always amazes me how he can come up with some rather brilliant songs on the spot.

I got a little bit annoyed by the front table (I see them at every Fullmooners and at most of Maxwell's gigs) who wanted to be involved a bit too much. Not nearly enough of Sir Tim and Lady Carol for me, but a fun and entertaining night (morning...?) nevertheless.

A thought.

Making your way home accross London at 3am can really put a damper on your evening.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Etcetera Theatre. Robin Ince. Gavin Osborn.

I must admit that Gavin Osborn was what really made me want to go to this gig. I like Robin Ince, I really do, but his quick 15 minute sets that i'd seen him do a lot lately had really made me question why. The angryness, rantyness and shoutyness leaves me a little bit cold, no matter how funny. This gig was a breath of fresh air and my admiration for Mr. Ince is back.

The stage was set with two chairs, a desk, many books, stacks of paper and a very full ruck-sack. He read from some of his favourite books, spoke about things that had made him angry and just seemed like he wanted to share things that he felt passionate about with his audience. He encouraged us to stand up for our beliefs and values; what a lovely man. Robin doesn't work well with time restraints - he needs to be able to lose his way for maximum satisfaction.

Gavin sang 4 songs, all of which aren't on an album. I really wish they were 'Over 30', 'Arthur' and 'Dear Stranger' are some of my favourites. His voice is so beautiful and every time he hits the high notes I get instant goosebumps.

At the end of the show, Mr. Ince gave us all a book, CD or DVD from his rucksack (he was having a bit of a clear out at home); I ended up with 'Mean Creek' on DVD.

A thought.

I wrote a poem on the tube, it was quite liberating.

She Looked Down At Me

Hair emaculate
Make-up just so
A sparkling diamond on that finger
I wasn't like her

Perfect figure
Knee high boots
Checking emails on her top of the range iPhone
I wasn't like her

I wasn't like her

Hair chucked back
Touch of gloss
A smudgy stamp from a gig
I wasn't like her

"Well rounded"
Scuffed broags
Checking for texts on a 5 year old phone
I wasn't like her