Second comedy gig of the week, and back in the familiar environment of the Underground at the Royal and Derngate. Our genial host was, as usual, Dan Evans, mining his comic brain for witty rejoinders with the front rows of the audience. This week they included Chris the Floor Fitter, the staff from the Pytchley pub in West Haddon, and a battle of wits to gauge whether or not an MA in Counselling would beat a PhD in Cancer Research – we basically decided the PhD would always win. Dan on terrific form as per usual.
For the second time this week, all the acts were new to us, which is fairly extraordinary given the number of comedy gigs we’ve been to over the years! First up was Kelli! Taylor – the exclamation mark is a vital part of her name, rather like the musical Oklahoma! – a delightful character spoof of a hair stylist from Hull, whose salon is called Hair Body Her Choice. Kelli! takes us into her confidence as she backstabs about all her clients, from the tissue paper thin skin of the elderly to the vajazzling of the more daring. It’s the comedy of bitchiness and gossip, and it works very well. It maybe took a little while for the Northampton audience to cotton on to how the act was going to work, but once we got there, we all really enjoyed it. Very clever!
Our middle act was Amir Khoshsokhan, a quietly lugubrious chap who delivers his material with care and forethought but with a hugely wicked twinkle in his eye. He’s another of these supremely gifted and brave comics who adopt a slow pace but with such authority that no one thinks of heckling. Extremely funny material, with a re-enactment of a conversation with his (now) ex-girlfriend about going out late, a lovely sequence regarding sex role play (Gerald and Vivienne) – which leads to tremendous callback later, and the trials and tribulations of being a failed vegetarian. He had us in the palm of his hand and we all loved him. Definitely One To Watch.
Headlining was Stephen Grant, an ebullient fellow who bounds onto the stage enthusiastically and gets down to work with energy and likeability. He’s got a quick brain and terrific verbal dexterity, and I loved how he took some easily recognised and well-known topics, like IVF, or marital breakdown, and toppled them on their heads with fresh and funny new material that inevitably all ties up nicely at the end. He has great material about his natural tendency to pedantry, and closed with a superb sequence about how you can sum up a person and their age from their first name – thank third row Graham for that contribution. Savagely inventive with hecklers too! He was the perfect end to an already great night of comedy.
Three shows so far this year, and each one a sell-out. Screaming Blue Murder is on a roll! Next one is on 28th April – and it’s already sold out!