Once more it’s time for that winning combination of a super compère, three fabulous acts and two lovely intervals that go to make up the entertainment orgy that is Screaming Blue Murder at the Derngate. Obviously wounded by previous audience comments that compère Dan Evans was wearing the same suit yet again, this time he turned up in a suave, sophisticated, very nearly matching jacket and trousers that would have looked really trendy on Terry Wogan in about 1975. I know that’s a bit cruel. I actually got a feel of the material and it’s very sturdy quality stuff; and I agree – to gentlemen of a certain age like Dan and me, that mid-range brown is definitely the new black.
Dan’s still bringing out new material each time he comes here, which is great for us regular attendees. He’s such a naturally funny guy anyway that just his warm-up interaction with the audience is worth the entrance price anyway. This week he coped admirably with a call-centre manager, a conveyancer, a heavily pregnant lady, a newbie lady from Leeds and the regular front row policeman and his sons. It’s like one big happy family really.
First up was someone new to us, Stu Goldsmith; an engaging and likeable young guy, who got off to a good start when a member of the audience just walked out the moment he went on stage – never to return. He had some great material about dating websites and how couples and singles view each other and manipulate each other, which was not only very funny but also insightful. A very good start to the evening.
Next, and in a change to the advertised programme, it was Tania Edwards, a very funny lady who based a lot of her act on the fact that she has one of the poshest voices this side of Chelsea. Despite her appearance she doesn’t hold back with some hard hitting material that you wouldn’t expect from such a glamorous lady. She kept up some good banter with the crowd and we’d definitely be happy to see her again.
However, everything that went before was but a build up to the headline act, Markus Birdman, whom we had seen here once before and I remembered as being a complete hoot. He is the most mischievous of comics; you completely trust him to blow you away with inventive and fresh material, which he does with effortless confidence and friendliness. His rapport with the audience is instant and solid – you feel you know him so well; imagine your favourite cousin, but funnier. If I tell you that he regaled us with the two best jokes about the speed of ejaculate you are ever likely to hear, you’ll get some idea of his act. I think the fact that his father is a vicar helps him to see the funny side of life from many angles, so his material is very varied and wide-ranging. He’s also very generous with his time and gave us a good long act; even then the crowd was wanting more. One of those acts who you still laugh about several days later.
I think there’s one more Screaming Blue Murder left this season – alas we can’t attend. Looking forward to more in the New Year!