Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 16th September 2016

Screaming Blue MurderSummer’s lease hath ended, gentle reader, which can only mean one thing – the return of the Screaming Blue Murder season to keep our spirits high through the oncoming months of mist and mellow fruitfulness. Our genial host, Dan Evans, was back in charge, and in great Dan Evansform as he did his best to manage front-row Hayley (who’d had a few), the regular teachers, the newbies in the third row who did a flit after the second act and the rest of our packed house. Lots of excellent new material from Dan – which is most appreciated!

Tom GoodliffeOur first act was a change to the advertised programme – Tom Goodliffe. He is a tall chap and clearly likes to discover if he’s the tallest chap in the room. He wasn’t. He has a nice nerdy friendly approach, and did a good job of keeping Hayley and her crew under control as she got progressively more worse for wear. He called out for any accountants to identify themselves – very disappointed that Mrs Chrisparkle kept her head low at that point. He did some nice double-entry material anyway. I also enjoyed his maths hip-hop songs and he’s the only comic I’ve seen who has taken advantage of the comedic effects of the different speeds of a tube escalator and its supporting handrail. Good fun and an excellent ice-breaker.

Harriet DyerOur second act was Harriet Dyer, whom we were meant to see in Edinburgh but just ran out of puff for that particular show, so it’s good that we’ve finally seen her perform. To use the description quirky would be an understatement. I did find her funny but she’s the kind of performer that divides audiences – hence the departure of the newbies after her act. I really loved her material about getting hair removal product from Poundland – trust me, don’t do it! Mrs C confessed that if she’d seen her for a full hour in Edinburgh she might have had to rest up for the remainder of the day – she’s quite tiring to watch! But she went down well with the audience – on the whole.

Steve BestBoth the first two acts were new to us but, last on for the night was Steve Best, whom we had seen twice before. In a sense it was a shame that he and Harriet were on the same bill as they both have a very manic approach to their comedy. However, Steve is a sure-fire, super confident winning comic; littering his speech with throwaway meaningless lines that build up over the course of the act to overwhelm you with the utter silliness of it all – and it’s also very funny. He has a surprisingly fine aptitude for a spot of magic – which you’re definitely not expecting – and what he can do with a long balloon is nobody’s business. He completely nailed it – the evening, not the balloon.

There’s another Screaming Blue in two weeks’ time – unfortunately, we can’t go, but you can have our seats!

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