Wednesday, 30 March 2011

49 Cedar Street. BBC Broadcasting House.

I enjoy Sunday afternoon Radio 4 recordings at BBC Radio Theatre. The pilot of 49 Cedar Street starred Colin Hoult as Laurence, Tom Parry as Elliot and Isabel Fay as Hannah. The live music and sound effects only added to the fun.

A bit of an odd script, this one. The FAQ that we were given before the recording said: "Q: What's this show about? A: Laurence and Elliot have been living together for some time now and it shows. Laurence does his best to look after Elliot and read him bedtime stories; in return Elliot tries to keep his room tidy and always eats his greens before pudding. Their home is a haven of peace and contentment, with comfy sofas, documentaries about punctuation and the occasional song and dance routine. But now they need a new lodger and their lives look set for change". Laurence

Hannah is a very irrational person but joins the house dynamic by, somewhat, guilt tripping Laurence; Elliot was smitten from the start. Some great acting from the main characters and I just adored the morning song and bedtime story.

A thought.

You know there will be lots of funnies during the pick-ups when Hoult and Parry are involved.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Ten-Year Self Improvement Plan. Update Seven.

Initial plan can be found here. This is my progress:

1) My review of Moab is my Washpot: Hmm. That's an acceptable review, right? I'm not that clued up about Stephen Fry, but i'm trying to see why people like him. He leaves me a bit cold to be honest. One of my friends said that people like him because he is smart and liking him makes you seem smart. WELL FUNNY.

I dog-eared a good bit and now i'm going to tell you it. Page 176: "I am sorry to borrow from others so much, but to do it one last time, I bring Montaigne to my defence: I quote others only the better to express myself".

I dog-eared a lot of pages actually. The thing is, he used such large words that I need to look up the meaning or referred to someone I didn't know and had to research.

I also read Mark Watson's Bullet Points. I must admit that it didn't draw me in at first due to not liking the main character. The twist at the end made me so guilty for not liking him and I really wanted to have a good cry; I finished this book while waiting to see a doctor.

2) A friend and I went to a Q&A screening of Submarine and afterwards in the foyer, I built up the courage to talk to Joe Dunthorne. THE JOE DUNTHORNE. He was so lovely. On the bus on the way home, I thought about lots of things that I wanted to ask and say to him.

3) Done and done.

4) This has largely turned into storing draft texts on my phone. My thoughts seem to have become quite philosophical.

5) I'm rather rubbish at this task. I have been emailing with a friend in Australia whom I plan to catch up with when I go home. She's pregnant (a little girl; naww) and we plan to go baby shopping - i'll have to act like a grown up!

6) I am losing, but not very much. I went to the doctor last week and have to go for a blood test. I may have polycystic ovaries or an under-active thyroid. GREAT.

A thought.

I've indulged in my own company a lot lately. I'm turning into quite the recluse.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Alternative Comedy Memorial Society. New Red Lion.

The best place to get your alternative comedy fix is to attend the fortnightly Alternative Comedy Memorial Society gig at the New Red Lion. The bill included lots of people that I hadn't had a chance to see before (Chris Boyd, Jacob Edwards, Mushy Bees, a Hungarian man and Thomas Nelstrop) and lots of my favourites (John-Luke Roberts, Thom Tuck, Nadia Kamil, Tom Bell, William Andrews and Colin Hoult).

There seems to be another returning feature that I didn't quite pick up on last time - to kick things off, a comedian will do a set in another language. A Hungarian man, who's name escapes me, broke into English half-way through his set and John-Luke Roberts responded by poking his head out from backstage and giving him a very disapproving look. Nadia Kamil pretended to be a penis pretending to be Banksy and William Andrews had a jumper on his head whilst showing footage of a lost dog on a motorway that defied capture for hours whilst simultaneously playing For Today I Am A Boy by Anthony and the Johnsons. He said that he didn't understand why people feel emotional while listening to songs like Angels by Robbie Williams but then this scenario propped up in real life and he found himself sobbing. He went on to say that it's not the song invoking emotions per se, but the events taking place while listening to the song. GREAT STUFF.

I did enjoy Chris Boyd, however, he did use quite a bit of audience participation to get laughs (after his set Thom Tuck congratulated Richard, the audience participant, for turning Petis Filous into Frubes - hilarious). Stand-up from a zombie, Thomas Nelstrop, made me giggle lots; "one zombie turned to another zombie and his head fell off... we've all been there". Wasn't so sure about The Masked Comedian (Jacob Edwards - although, I do appreciate what he was trying to do) and Mushy Bees (he/she was a great artist, though). Tom Bell was excellent (he always is) and I especially liked his Angelina Jolie recipe for pancakes.

There were some great larks just before both intervals: a Q&A with a piñata called Alan (he was destroyed by a monkey, aka Thom Tuck, before questions were asked and answered) and 2 audience members played Gareth Gwynn Buckaroo aka THE BEST GAME EVER INVENTED. Basically, 2 contestants took it in turns to place a plastic fork in Gareth Gwynn's spectacular beard and the first person who's fork falls out is the loser. After each fork was strategically placed, Thom Tuck would shake Gareth Gwynn (quite violently at times, I have to say). At the end of the game, Gareth Gwynn had 33 plastic forks in his beard. He came back on stage for another round after the second interval only to reveal that the beard was no longer (RIP).

Photos, as ever, are by Diamond Geyser.

A thought.

Spotting Greg McHugh in the audience will bring about what can only be described as a "fangirl moment".

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Submarine Q&A. Curzon Soho.

I read about this event as my bus drove past Curzon Soho a few weeks back and I strained my neck trying to log all the details. The film was introduced by the same man that held the interview and after the screening Richard Ayoade, Joe Dunthorne, Sally Hawkins, Yasmin Paige and Craig Roberts took to the stage for a Q&A.

My friend and I were asked if we could have our picture taken before entering the cinema. The Polaroids were then pinned to a board and we were encouraged to take them home as a memento upon leaving. We were given quite a few mementos in fact, from the goody bags under our chair in the cinema (pick'n'mix, a notebook, school report, matches and a HUGE APPLE) to the sparklers being handed out when leaving the complex.

I really enjoyed Submarine; a coming of age film adapted from Joe Dunthorne's novel and directed by Richard Ayoade. All the reviews I have read are nothing short of praise and basically say the same thing - it's beautiful and funny and sad and touching and sweet and scenic all at the same time; none of this "it's a sad/tender/sweet etc moment so we can't have laughs". One would never know that it was Ayoade's first film, clearly a lover of the art. I related to the characters, but they weren't exactly likable... well, sometimes they were. I can't recommend it enough.

The Q&A was awkward from the get go and it continued right the way through until the actors, director, novelist and interviewer left the stage. There weren't enough chairs for a start which meant the interviewer had to sit on a table, he also told Yasmin Paige that his children watched her on Tracy Beaker, "i'm not in Tracy Beaker" came her reply. When questions were thrown over to the audience, a young couple gushed in the direction of Sally Hawkins saying things like "we've come all the way down from Manchester for this", "we loved you in Happy-Go-Lucky" and "last time we saw you, you signed her arm!". They were a little out of it...

My favourite question was from a rather abrupt lady who asked what they did to prepare for filming in Wales and, essentially, making a Welsh film when the majority of the cast and crew weren't Welsh. Richard Ayoade had me in stitches when he said "what do you want me to say? We did press-ups? We wrote a lot of Ls in succession? We wore armour? All the normal things you do when preparing for Wales". He made me laugh plenty more times throughout the interview not least when the interviewer asked him to end on a slightly racist remark: "pfft, the Spanish".

I had such a wonderful night and i'd quite happily to do it all over again.

A thought.

I swear I never used to go bright red and shake when talking to people I admire. I also think i'm to old for this kind of behaviour to be considered cute. Damn.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Big Sketch Bash. 100 Club.

All my favourite sketch groups in one place? Check. Some awesome company? Check. Fun times? You bet. The compere, Tom Bell, was joined by Totally Tom, Three Englishmen, Anna and Katy, Pappy's and The Penny Dreadfuls.

Tom Bell is one of the most underrated comedians on the British circuit, in my opinion; the room is never short of laughter when he's on stage. I adore his whimsy and turn of phrase so much. I hope Tom and Totally Tom get their big break soon. Tommy, Tom, Tom (<--- reminds me of a Cardinal Burns sketch, that does)!

The atmosphere before Pappy's, and indeed Dreadfuls, was electric; the audience was full of enthusiastic fans. Both gave stellar sets and showcased sketches that i'd not seen before. Pappy's' Choose Your Own Adventure sketch and Glove Song was freakin' a.

I haven't seen Anna & Katy perform in, like, a year. Their Fête sketch is a fave. Every time I hear someone say "sorry", i'm reminded of it. EVERY TIME.

My friend Anna's review blows my silly little account out of the water.

A thought.

Pretty sure one of the sketch troupes on the bill fake corpsed. Naughty, naughty.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Knock2bag Gig. Bar FM.

Stirling line-up at a venue close to where I live? Yes please. The MC, Fergus Craig, was joined by Alex Horne, Delete the Banjax, Cardinal Burns, Matthew Crosby, John-Luke Roberts and Andrew Lawrence.

Alex Horne (with saxophonist, Mark Brown) stumbled on comedy gold when he found someone in the audience called Albion. He asked another audience member, Brendan, to ring a friend to let them know that he was sitting next to a man with a wonderful name. Brendan rang his daughter Kim and a hilarious/awkward conversation ensued. Horne ended his set with his Justin Timberlake beatbox - a fave.

This was not the only time that audience members were funny. Bill, who worked in TV, was in charge of starting the round of applause before each act came on; "okay guys, let's have a good one in 3, 2, 1" *clapping/cheering*. EXCELLENT. A couple of dim lads were given heaps of flack for not really getting the jokes and failed miserably at answering questions posed to them by the comedians. Their table was referred to as the "green table" by Matthew Crosby - his reasoning was based on people during school-days who were in the lower set and always had a special name for their classes/area of the classroom. Crosby engaged in a conversation with a trendy Afro-Caribbean man about Nandos that I thought was very funny: (paraphrasing) "do you like Peri-Peri salt on you chips" "yeah, man! High five!" "is this street?".

Delete the Banjax and Cardinal Burns showcased some wonderful new sketches; I enjoyed the English Comprehensive and DJ/Clubbing ones the most. John-Luke Roberts' insults will always be a highlight and I like the way Andrew Lawrence can make turn that audience from thinking "who/what is this man" to "holy moly, he's SO FUNNY" within a matter of minutes.

A thought.

The music in Bar FM was incredibly loud during the intervals. Hello, headache.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Colin Hoult: The New Advertures, Leicester Square Theatre.

Colin Hoult was joined by Thom Tuck, Kevin Eldon, David Reed, Isy Suttie and Zoe Gardner for a night of new material.

I've seen Thom Tuck's stand-up set quite a bit, but it really has come along leaps and bounds; I particularly liked the anecdotes about love dispersed through his material on straight-to-DVD Disney films. Kevin Eldon tried out two brand new songs as well as a new routine from his Character From The North. David Reed played a Doctor (I think it was a Doctor. Oh, I should've written this blog sooner. If you're reading this David Reed, i'm sorry! You're still, and always will be, my favourite Dreadful) reading from his diary; pretty funny. Zoe Gardner played a charcater that wanted to be a beauty therapist, but became a carer because they wouldn't let her wear jewellery - hilarious. Isy Suttie's charcter was bang on; a nosey, middle aged type lady who liked giving advice (Reed gave her a helping hand).

Hoult's new characters are so, so good from 31 year old Mike to his depressed Welsh poet and everything in between. I can't pick a favourite, so don't make me try. A band accompanied him throughout the night and at the very end we all sang the ewok song from Star Wars.

A thought.

The tune from the ewok song is similar to The Horne Section's days of the week song.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Alternative Comedy Memorial Society. New Red Lion.

Organised and hosted by John-Luke Roberts and Thom (Luke) Tuck, this was the first of many Alternative Comedy Memorial Society gigs at the New Red Lion. The plan is that comedians can come and try out "hilarious invention" - stand-up that is a little bit different from the norm. The first line-up included the likes of Elis James, Terry Saunders, David McNeill and Lawry Lewin, William Andrews, Tom Bell, Nadia Kamil, Jigsaw (sketch from Nat Luurtsema, Tom Craine and Dan Antopolski) and Tony Law.

I haven't laughed so hard and so much in ages; not a bad word will be said about it. After every act Thom or John-Luke would say "a failure" to which the audience would respond with "a noble failure" and only 3 heckles were permitted, one of which being "we appreciate what you're trying to do".

Nadia was introduced as Nadia Kamil Pretending To Be A Penis Pretending To Be Another Thing (a fish) and Will was introduced as Will Andrews Has a Thing On His Head. I hope this means that they will both have a fortnightly spot - SO FUNNY. Andrews' material about setting his watch fast so he'd no longer by late was inspired.

Elis did his whole set in Welsh, Terry Saunders encouraged the audience to boycott Barclays by stealing pens, David McNeill and Lawry Lewin told us how nunchuckas have, somewhat, ruined their lives, a masked Tom Bell danced around while handing out pieces of Yorkie to women, Jigsaw showcased their new sketches (I particularly liked the chat line sketch - "tell me how local you are!") and Tony Law did some hilarious improv about the venue which segued into a tale about a bus ride with his young twins.

In the intervals when we weren't being treated to live music or drawing things that would be common in the future (half a squid was my favourite), we taste-tested salted chocolate ice cream in an attempt to find out what food is "hilariousest". On top of all these larks, the remaining comedians read through a transcript of a Captain Planet episode before the headline act.

What an incredible evening. Photos by Daimond Geyser.

A thought.

Good comedy makes me so, soooo, SO happy.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Platforms Live. The Luminaire.

Incredible line-up. Wonderful venue. £6. BARGAIN. Headliners, The Mariner's Children were joined by Peggy Sue and Lulu and the Lampshades. RiP Luminaire, you shall be missed.

It was my first time seeing Peggy Sue and Lulu and the Lampshades and I thought they were amazing. Peggy Sue played some brilliant music, but they weren't as fun to watch. Luisa Gerstein and Eloise Tunstall Behrens of Lulu and the Lampshades are incredibly talented musicians; as well as having amazing voices, they seemed to by able to play an array of different instruments.

The Mariner's Children played a pretty long set with an encore. When the lead singer, Ben Rubenstein, asked the stage manager if he could keep playing, a heckler shouted a very polite "WINNING!". It was almost as good as when somebody shouted out "Stephen!" and Ben responded with "just coming!" and seemed mighty chuffed to play along. The Mariner's Children's music is beautiful and enchanting and I must see them live again soon - so, so good.

A thought.

If I ever get married (big if), I want my bridesmaids to wear different dresses.

Ten-Year Self Improvement Plan. Update Six.

My initial plan can be found here and this is how i'm progressing:

1) I've read a few books since my last update: The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do, Atonement by Ian McEwan and i'm halfway through Moab Is My Washpot by Stephen Fry.

I couldn't put Anh's book down; what a life he's led! I felt a few things were unnecessarily repeated, though. He spoke about the book on Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight.

I enjoyed reading Atonement far more than watching the film. I had so much hatred for Briony whilst reading this book, even at the end.

Not really enjoying Stephen's autobiography - I thought it would make me like him more... it's not.

2) A comedian came up to me and introduced himself! I was so completely chuffed! What a lovely guy! Not saying who because i'm convinced he searches for his name and I don't want him to know that I am an overly-enthusiastic fangirl.

3) TICK! Go me! I was reading over some of my blogs the other day and so grateful that i've kept at it.

4) They are written all over the place. I'm not very organised...

5) Kinda forgot about this one. I wrote to my friend Jess who's having a baby and asked her how she was - I guess that counts.

6) Feeling good. I've become a vegetarian and at first I was always starving hungry, but all is fine now. Buying a size 14, instead of a 16 is awesome.

A thought.

A couple of friends that I don't get to see that often came and stayed at my place after Mark Watson's Live Address To The Nation recording and we chatted for hours and hours. I miss them so.

Simon Amstell Work In Progress. The Invisible Dot HQ.

Still my favourite venue in the whole wide world. I don't know why I keeping saying this, I very much doubt it's going to change.

Some great new material from Amstell; he basically told little anecdotes that had no correlation as yet. I loved his tales about gluttony.

He seemed very laid back and held a Q&A at the very end. Fun times.

A thought.

I never know who British TV personalities are. I know most of the Aussie ones. It's proving quite difficult to learn and makes me feel stupid.

Mark Watson's Live Address To The Nation. BBC Radio Theatre.

The atmosphere in the BBC Radio Theatre minutes before Mark Watson's Live Address To The Nation was TENSE. Those following Mark on Twitter knew how nervous he was and matters weren't helped by audience members being seated as the 11 o'clock news played into the studio. The story about the plight of ruddy ducks coupled with this atmosphere saw a huge roar of laughter rip through the theatre moments before going live.

Since the broadcast, I have listened to the show an insane number of times and it just gets better. I really, really wish it'll be commissioned. Tim Key's cheeky chappy demeanour was the funniest thing; from the Freudian slips "Steve Redgay" and "cockless four" to interrupting Mark to tell him that he eats "breakfast in the nude".

Quite a lot of pages of script were abandoned as time ran out. Hopefully this won't happen next time (if the is a next time - fingers crossed) as admin will have been addressed.

A thought.

I use the word "love" too loosely. It has lost all it's power.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Triceratops. Leicester Square Theatre.

A new night from Feature Spot where Colin Hoult, Nick Mohammed and Adam Ritches try-out new characters/sketches. This particular evening also featured the marvelous Flange Krammer.

Nick Mohammed (piano and backing vocals) and Colin Hoult (lead vocals) were improvising a song upon arrival; this character from Hoult also turned out to be the MC and reminded Mr. Bewley. Nick Mohammed, Colin Hoult and Adam Ritches didn't perform together again apart from Riches' Mastermind sketch in which Nick Mohammed lent a helping hand; SO FUNNY.

Other highlights included Colin Hoult's St. Germaine character (lots of great Dad-dancing and Zimbani-style facial expressions), Nick Mohammed's Mr. Swallow and Adam Ritches' promoter/agent character.

A thought.

I have so much love for those who are good at hugging.

The Special Relationship. Concrete.

Trendy Shoreditch is trendy; intimidatingly trendy. Still, a bloody good gig where I had a bloody good time. The regular Special Relationshipers, Tom Basden, Jarred McGinnis and Sam Taradash, were joined by Matthew Robins (and co.), Joe Dunthorne and Simon Munnery at Concrete as a part of YARN Festival.

This was my 3rd time seeing the brilliant Matthew Robins and his band and it was just as spectacular. The stories/songs are childlike and charming and the puppetry is stunning - seeing what they do for yourself is a must.

Joe Dunthorne had written a Chose Your Own Adventure for grown-ups for this special occasion. I loved the way he wrote and will have to seek out his novels asap; his website is worth a gander.

I do like Simon Munnery, but I think on this occasion he misjudged his audience. I felt we warmed to him more when he recited his poetry/stories.

My favourite story of the night came from the newly bearded, Jarred McGinnis, who left me captivated with his tale of a young American who was talked into giving a troubled gentleman a lift while at a laundrette.

Some wonderful photos from the night can be found here.

A thought.

I NEED to buy this book.