Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 6th February 2015

Dan EvansAnother full house at the Screaming Blue Murder last Friday, which is great news for everyone. This week Mrs Chrisparkle and I were joined by Lady Duncansby for her first Screaming Blue of the year. Where else can you get three super acts and a fantastic host for just 12 quid? That’s only £3 per performer – and chucking in the two lovely intervals for free! Dan Evans was once again in charge, working his way through the front rows, as only he can, mining for comedy nuggets. We had the return of teacher Rob and his mates from the previous show, but Dan didn’t concentrate on them as they were so last fortnight. Instead we were all curious about a romantic assignation between a probation officer and her client – you couldn’t make it up. Lots of fresh new material from Dan to enjoy as well, which gets the evening off to a terrific start.

Matt GreenIn a change to the published programme, our first act was Matt Green. New to us, he had a set full of really funny observations and jokes, much of which was based on his domestic life with his wife. I particularly liked the segment about the fantasy of having sex on a bed covered with money; and also the comparison of people checking the emails on their phones whilst they’re meant to be having a conversation with the equivalent in the old days of their bringing out a stack of letters to sift through. A great opener, he went down very well with the crowd.

Sofie HagenNext up was Sofie Hagen, also new to us, a Danish comic who successfully trades on her (dubious) lack of confidence with the English language and who is happy being on the more comely side of a size 14. She comes across as being a really nice girl which gives added oomph to her unexpected twists of verbal coarseness and the apparent ease with which you could invite her to bed. She has a relaxed, unhurried style to accompany her very funny material about not over-exerting oneself. All in all a surprising act, and one that worked very well.

Ian CognitoOur final act was Ian Cognito, whom we have seen here before, when he went down a storm but I found him a bit unsubtle. Well this time, to use the common parlance, he smashed it. With incredible self-assurance, using the entire room, paced to perfection, he pitched his faux-aggressive style just right all the way through and he was brilliant. His material tends to be extended one-liners, but his style elongates them into mini-epics, so you don’t feel you’re missing out on depth. Our audiences tend to be quite “right-on” and we get a bit anxious if we fear the comic might stray into bigotry; so it’s a mark of Mr Cognito’s (who knows what his real name is) skill and success that he can end a really funny joke with “and that’s how you tell a rapist gag”. He looked like he was really enjoying it too. An early contender for a Chrisparkle award.

Three weeks until the next session. Get booking!

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