Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 26th May 2023

Dan EvansTime for another rip-roaring Screaming Blue Murder at the Royal and Derngate, and this episode was a particularly fun-packed one. Our host, the usually genial Dan Evans was on fire with his barbed ripostes with the front rows, creating a fabulous mood for us all to enjoy the evening. Although he did have to find wriggle room when he discovered that front row Lisa was a kick boxer; all the belts, all the dans. We also had the pleasure of vicariously meeting 29 year old Claire from France (who was not really from France and probably wasn’t 29 either) and David at the front who clearly has such a huge personal charisma that he can’t bring his legs together.

Paul RickettsOur first act, and someone we’ve seen many times before, was Paul Ricketts; a very safe pair of hands who takes the audience on a journey of age discovery – a lot of his material is based on comparing the behaviours of the old and the young. He has some nice material about internet porn, and I recognised his memories of the porn fairy who, in the old days, would litter the woods with torn scraps of the stuff. Happy days. His routine was interrupted by a glorious moment when a woman at the back of the room clearly and assertively told a chap who was on his phone to go outside to make his call, which he did sheepishly, much to the massive admiration of the entire audience. A good start to the evening.

Eleanor TiernanNext up, and someone else we’ve seen before, was Eleanor Tiernan. Naturally funny, with a nice blend of confidence and self-deprecation, she has some lovely observations about being Irish in London, and how nice it is when you end up crying for no reason and no one cares. I loved her stuff about what happens when an American performer is on stage in Dublin and says it’s great to be back in the UK; and she has some very funny material about going down a speculum size. Brisk, self-assured, and warmly chatty, she gave us a great set.

Addy van der BorghOur headliner for the evening, and someone we’ve never seen before but I have heard a lot about, was Addy van der Borgh; another naturally funny guy and gifted physical comedian, who instantly drives us into hysterics with comments about the way he looks. Full of fresh new material, he does a marvellous routine about how you age and don’t see it yourself, but the world sees you very differently; the sequence about giving a cheeky smile to a young lady and what she sees back is just brilliant. I also loved the idea of anthropomorphising a bottle of wine – naughty Monsieur Merlot, the perfect accompaniment to a tin of spaghetti ‘oops. He had us all in the palm of his hand – we loved every minute of it.

Another Screaming Blue Murder comes along in June – you spoil us, Mister Ambassador!

Review – Upfront Comedy Slam, Royal and Derngate, Northampton, 14th May 2023

UpfrontA happy welcome back to the Upfront Comedy team, bringing a little light and laughter into a Northampton Sunday evening. Hosted by the inimitable John Simmit, also known as The Artist Formerly Known as Dipsy, he told us of his grim experience of getting back from a gig in Ulverston over the weekend when there were no trains. Nasty. My sympathy stopped, however, when he said that Eurovision (which had taken place the day before) is rubbish. Minus mark to Mr Simmit – time to join the 21st century!

John SimmitAll the acts had the benefit of noticing a young lad in the front row seeing the show with his Mum. We ascertained that he was 16 years old, and I think his name was Anand. My guess is that he was a lot more knowledgeable about many aspects of life and language by the end of the evening.

Sukh OjlaOur first act, and someone new to us, was Sukh Ojla, a very jolly lady with a lot of very enjoyable material about living at home with your parents at the age of 38, deciding she’s now way too old for an arranged marriage, and trying to ascertain who else in the audience was hopelessly single. She has a very appealing stage persona and a warm way of communicating with the audience that made it easy for us to confide in her. A very happy start to the proceedings.

John RyanNext up, and someone whom we’ve seen at an Upfront gig before, was John Ryan, whose act is all based on promoting equality; so even though he looks like he’d be a wise-cracking London comic of the old school, he’s as right-on as right-on can be. He explores racial and ethnic stereotypes with effortless ease and you know he’s never going to put a foot wrong as far as giving offence is concerned. It’s a clever act because it fools with the audience’s preconceptions, and he has a lot of entertaining material.

Stephen K AmosNevertheless, as we went into the interval there was a slight feeling that somehow the evening as a whole was holding back – whether the audience weren’t quite letting themselves go, or whether the acts weren’t quite tickling our funnybones, it was hard to tell. However, the second half of the show devoted a big chunk of time to the company of headliner Stephen K Amos, and he completely nailed it. He grabs an audience by the scruff of the neck and dares them not to adore everything he does. Almost all his act is simply reacting to whatever the audience offers him – so young Anand was a gift, but when he realised brother and sister Matt (47) and Claire (44) had brought their mum and dad along with them it was like all his Christmases had come at once. Biffing off hecklers with withering putdowns, always choosing le mot juste and with immaculate timing, it was an hour or so of pure comedic beauty.

Upfront Comedy will return later this year and I’ll definitely be there!

Review – Tom Houghton, Absolute Shambles, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 1st April 2023

Absolute ShamblesI remember when Tez Ilyas came to Northampton for a gig and within the first five minutes he’d mistaken the town for Peterborough (not a good move) and said that we didn’t have any cricket clubs here (an even worse move). Fortunately we were a kindly bunch and forgave him, but only after we insisted on a grovelling apology.

Tom Houghton started his show last Saturday in a similarly winning fashion. Good evening Nottingham! he yelled from off stage, which was met with the appropriate level of jeering. I think it was a genuine error. If he starts all his gigs with mislocating himself for comic effect it could be a very risky business. Fortunately Northampton and Nottingham are not known for any local rivalries – primarily because they’re not remotely local to each other.

Tom HoughtonPerhaps Absolute Shambles isn’t a bad name for the show, because he also proceeded to tell us that normally he would have a support act on first to warm us all up – but, basically, he forgot to book one. Thus his support act was – Tom Houghton! No problem, of course, because The Honourable Tom has got more material than you cram into a wardrobe, so he started off by looking for posh people in the audience. Nobody confessed; but in the interval there were conversations about how I wasn’t going to mention I went to private school and nor was I, too perilous an admission to make.

Tom saw through us though, and worked out who the posh people were – including the four sixteen-year-old girls in the third row who came in for a lot of gentle jibing. Tom’s big thing is his posh background, having only recently moved out of the family home in The Tower of London. But lockdown affected both the rich man in his castle and the poor man at his gate, and we got a little insight into the fact that his mental health suffered during those dark days of 2020. Other nuggets that he shared with us included a surprisingly lucrative sideline in selling pictures of his feet to foot fetishists, and his experience as being part of the reality TV programme The Circle.

Tom HoughtonHe has a warm and likeable persona which endears him to the audience, so even when he’s being very cheeky with us – and occasionally rather insulting! – we still lap it up. The show runs at a good pace and, even if it occasionally feels slightly aimless and wandering, there’s always lots to enjoy and plenty of belly laughs to be had. And there’s no doubt, he is an extremely safe pair of hands, and the total master of the art of the callback. The show was sold out, but Mr H is returning to Nottingham, I mean Northampton, to do it all again on 30th June – this time in the Royal Theatre. Recommended!

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 24th March 2023

Dan EvansSecond 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.

Kelli TaylorFor 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!

Amir KhoshsokhanOur 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.

Stephen GrantHeadlining 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!

Review – Comedy Crate at the Waterside, University of Northampton, 21st March 2023

Comedy Crate WatersideA new venue for us, the Waterside Bar and Restaurant at Northampton University, and it’s a very welcoming environment. Great sightlines, excellent well-priced wine and a friendly atmosphere. Of course, what can make or break a comedy gig is the subtle blend of venue and audience; and, on last night’s experience, the right blend just wasn’t there. We knew for a fact (they told us many times!) that the acts were expecting a much more studenty crowd than the demographic who had bought tickets; representing the students, there were only wannabe sports coach Jake (19) and his unnamed girlfriend (20) present. The rest of us were of indeterminate older age! Maybe, because it was held at the university, some of the regular Comedy Crate crowd didn’t feel that it was the right venue for them and so stayed away. <RANT>But comedy is comedy, gang! You can have just as good a laugh at a uni venue as you can in a pub or theatre. So have the confidence to book tickets! </RANT>

Ross SmithAll four comics plying their trade last night were new to us – something that very rarely happens nowadays, so that gave the evening an additional frisson (for us anyway). Our host was Ross Smith – and a very capable pair of hands he is too. Very welcoming, he instantly put us at ease as he delved into the private lives of those in the second and third rows (including us). Often, when you get targeted by a comic to answer lots of personal questions, something inside you clams up and you just wish they’d go away. Not so with Mr Smith; he has a very engaging personality that invites you to open up and tell things to a perfect stranger (indeed a room full of them) that you wouldn’t normally. He controlled the evening with a true lightness of touch, he’s clearly got a quick comic brain, and I’d really like to see him do a longer set. So far, so good.

Michael MannionOur first act was Michael Mannion, and I can’t pretend it went well. Thrown a) by the fact that we weren’t students and b) from the lukewarm response he received to his opening material, he lost his way somewhat and found it difficult to get back on track. I felt that he sensed that his set was going worse than it actually was, which was an early punch in the stomach of his confidence. He self-deprecates before we’ve had a chance to assess whether he deserves to, describing himself as a c*** several times, too early into the act and without real justification. As a result, when he actually asks the audience at one stage, don’t you think I’m a c***? which, presumably, most student audiences do, we were left thinking no you’re not, just a well brought-up nice young man, in a slightly patronising way. His act is very much based on his appearance and personality rather than its verbal content, and there just weren’t enough well-delivered punchlines for the act to go better. Oh, and, no Michael, we weren’t all 100 years old, despite your muttering it!

Jacob NusseyThings took a terrific turn for the better with our middle act, Jacob Nussey. A very dour, wry persona, with a quiet but totally authoritative delivery, the audience quickly attuned to his material and pace. He had some wonderful observations about working for Amazon, and a brilliant sequence about casual racism which really turned the subject on its head. Self-deprecating in just the right way and extremely funny. He was perfect for this gig, as all his observations and material were relatable to people of all ages.

Erika EhlerOur headliner was Erika Ehler, with a larger-than-life personality and terrific stage presence, but she too was sideswiped by the lack of students in the audience. She has some great material and delivers it with style and conviction, but the majority of it didn’t land. After a while she started to tell us that we wouldn’t like her next lot of material because we were the wrong audience for it; and she was right! A shame because I’m sure under different circumstances she would be a big hit.

The key to success for comedy at this venue is to get more bums on seats! We can’t make the next gig here, on 18th April, but you should – Ross Smith hosting again, and Josh Pugh is topping the bill. Should be great!

Review – Comedy Crate at the Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton, 9th March 2023

Tom ToalHurrah for another packed house upstairs at the Bradlaugh to see the next Comedy Crate extravaganza – with Tom Toal hosting three great acts for us all to enjoy. Tom was excellent at getting to know everyone in the front few rows, including regular updates on how Gemma’s mum was doing (not well apparently), the green suit man who’s into pet insurance, and all the girls who work at Giggle Café. He’s got a bright and lively style about him and put us all at our ease to enjoy the show.

Finlay ChristieUnusually for us, all three acts were new to us, so that made for a fascinating evening of comedy! First up was Finlay Christie, a 23-year-old self-styled posh boy, with a set all about being a young Generation Z chap. I loved his material about seeking out older women for a relationship and his observations on the class system. He’s a terrific comedy craftsman, with a superb ability to hold our attention. His final joke (and an incredibly funny one) took a long time to deliver with lots of vital pauses and silences; many a comic would have had the crowd growing restless under such circumstances, but he had wound us around his little finger and were glued to our seats to hear the punchline. This young man will go far, Mark My Words.

Ricky BalshawNext up was Ricky Balshaw, a naturally funny guy whose act centres on his life with cerebral palsy, and he’s not afraid to go into detail. Some of that material can be a little hard to take, but it’s his life and his reality, so if anyone is entitled to address it – it’s him! Blessed with excellent comic timing he has an excruciating tale about diarrhoea which had the entire audience squirming in hilarity. Good comedy should sometimes challenge the audience – and this was very good comedy.

Helen BauerOur headliner was Helen Bauer, who had the audience in the palm of her hand from the word Go, with terrific material from the point of view of an assertive woman, including her conclusions about Supersize v Superskinny, how life changes at 30, why German is sexy, and the incremental benefits of drinking three bottles of wine at a sitting. Full of attack, and with observations that never fail to hit home, she had us in hysterics the whole time. Apparently, she is returning for the Comedy Crate’s Summer Festival – where she will be a must-see.

Our next Comedy Crate gig will be at the Waterside Bar on the University of Northampton Campus in a couple of weeks – looking forward to it!

Review – Rob Auton, The Crowd Show – Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 3rd March 2023

Crowd ShowWasn’t it Barbra Streisand who said, and I think it was, People – People who need people – are the luckiest people in the world…. I’m sure that’s an attitude that Rob Auton would 100% get behind. It’s a sentiment that always reminds me of a great Tommy Cooper line: A friend in need… is a pest, get rid of him.

If anyone treads the thinnest of lines between stand-up comedy and spoken word, it’s Rob Auton. We saw him at the Royal and Derngate four years ago with his Talk Show, which I described at the time as an intelligent, thoughtful and emotional hour’s comedy. Since then, not only have we had the Covid pandemic and a plethora of Prime Ministers, but also the return of Rob Auton with his Crowd Show. And, guess what? It’s another evening of intelligent, thoughtful and emotional comedy. I guess I didn’t really expect him to change.

As before, the gentlest of first halves brings Rob to the stage, delighted to be performing again, and genuinely thrilled (I really don’t think he’s pretending) to meet the good Burgers of Northampton on a Friday night out out. He quickly elicits which of us have seen him before (a good third, I would estimate) and he’s chuffed that we’ve returned. Front row John had already seen his Crowd Show in Edinburgh, and Rob is gobsmacked that he’s come back for a second helping. He’s easily distracted by sweet-rustlings; he has to investigate the nature of the individual sweet concerned (Maltesers). He has a well-prepared riposte for the guy who leaves shortly before the interval, assuming he couldn’t wait to nip to the Gents; but in fact he’d gone to place a wine order for the interval. Pinot; although he never clarified if it was noir or grigio. The riposte was, therefore, inappropriate and not used.

I’m going into this kind of detail about the audience behaviour, by the way, because Rob himself takes a lot of time considering what his individual audience members get up to during the show. He sees it as a shared experience; what the audience does is just as vital to the nature of the performance as what he does. And he’s right; before the second half starts, a chap from the back of the crowd runs up and places a box of Maltesers on the stage. It’s all integrated.

Rob AutonMeanwhile, back to the show. Mr A takes us on a journey through his career to date; how he moved from advertising to performing, initially via the medium of poetry, through all his one-man Shows, to where he is today. He remembers aspects of those performances, his content and his intentions with each. It’s a cross between Rob Auton’s Greatest Hits and This is Your Life.

He returns after the interval as a heckler for his own show, sitting at the back calling for it to start, setting up a chant of We Want Rob! which he naturally obliges by eventually returning. The Crowd Show, as such, starts. It’s based on a Google search regarding advice on Speaking To A Crowd Of People (which is what he’s doing). A mangled file of papers in his hand, to which he apparently frequently refers, he goes through the list of individual pieces of advice one by one, showing how he is conforming to Google’s suggestions. It’s charming, frequently funny – although rarely belly-laugh inducing – and strangely reflective. He also plays some games with us; it’s a way of cementing the bond between audience and performer that probably works best when the audience is fully behind the idea. I’m not entirely sure we were.

Rob Auton has an almost unique ability to tell a universal truth in a quiet but winning way. As an example, he remembers an occasion where he saw his (then) fiancé at a distance texting someone and looking really happy to be doing so. Whoever it is she is texting must mean a lot to her, he thinks internally. And then he receives her text and realises it is he of whom she is thinking lovingly. And that’s a perfect, simple, totally natural moment of sheer joy.

I must be honest though – The Crowd Show didn’t fully engage me in the same way that The Talk Show did; whether it was due to his sticking rigidly to the structure of the Google Advice throughout the hour, or whether his observations and thoughts weren’t quite so revelatory, I’m not certain. He’s drawing very near the end of his tour, but no doubt he’ll be back with more reflective emotion soon!

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 24th February 2023

Dan EvansAnother massive night of comedy with yet another full house at the Screaming Blue Murder club at the Royal and Derngate, with daredevil host Dan Evans on top form coping with another unlikely bunch of customers. Every other person in the two front rows appeared to be a police officer, which made for a curious dynamic. Or, if they weren’t police, they were charity workers. Fortunately they all had good senses of humour!

Otiz CannelloniOur first act – and the only one we’d seen before – was Otiz Cannelloni, whose act has a rather old-fashioned music hall/variety feel to it, but it’s none the worse for that – in fact, there’s probably too little of that around nowadays. He has a cunning blend of comedy and magic – and a charming rabbit to assist him with some of his tricks – and lots of silly comic throwaway lines. He’s a great example of if ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as his act was pretty much the same as before, but the material works really well, so why not?

Kat GeborysNext up was Kat Geborys – who, probably quite wisely, shortens it to Kat to make it simpler for the rest of us. I was going to call her Proudly Polish, but in fact she doesn’t seem to have much complimentary to say about her native country – perhaps doing the slightly xenophobic material so that we don’t have to think it for ourselves; Poland is a country that she maintains (allegedly) can’t distinguish between being gay from being a paedophile, for instance. A lot of her act centres on her being – shall we say – sexually frank and direct, and there’s a lot of good material there. She has excellent timing, a fun stage presence and went down well with the audience.

Adam BloomOur headliner was Adam Bloom, a comic who’s been around for some time and it’s criminal that we haven’t seen him before – and we’ve missed a lot. Cleverly self-deprecating about his appearance, he delivers his excellent material with sure fire confidence; a mixture of traditional kids/marriage/divorce type observations and some more daring stuff – I really enjoyed his sequence about virtual reality sex. Great use of callbacks, and he ends his act with a very successful round of you give me a subject and I’ll give you a joke about it. A great end to a terrific evening.

Next Screaming Blue Murder is on 24th March and – guess what – it’s sold out again!

Review – Comedy Crate at the Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton, 9th February 2023

Another sell-out crowd upstairs at the Bradlaugh to see the latest serving of comedy from those nice people at the Comedy Crate. Our host for the evening was Will Duggan, an amiable chap who sets up a great rapport with the audience, mining the audience for golden nuggets that can be used later; and, as an audience we didn’t disappoint. There were Ed and San-D, who couldn’t remember how many times they’d got married; Will Dugganthere was Mark with the dashing moustache who looked like he’d floated in on the nearest gondola; and peppered around the room were more administrators than you can shake a stick at. Will kept the action going splendidly and prepared us all for a great night.

Michael FabbriFirst up, and someone who we’ve seen once before and really enjoyed, was Michael Fabbri, who wastes no time getting straight in with the funny, class-based observations, like to what extent do you trust a pilot with a working-class accent, or how do you react to overheard conversations in a campsite. He did his routine about not being able to find the door in a hotel room, which we’d heard before but is always worth a re-run. He has a very funny sequence about watching a guy at night at his bedroom window, and what happens when you have to resort to pretending to sneeze. Absolutely brilliant material, all told with disarming charm and wicked timing. Superb!

Sam NicorestiOur second act, and someone new to us, was Sam Nicoresti, who takes us on his journey of sexual- and gender-identity discovery which is intriguing and enlightening if not always laugh-a-minute. I enjoyed their conclusion that they’re gender queer even though they’re not sure what that means, and I loved their material about scattering ashes at Cleethorpes (not to be recommended, by the sound of it). They also have a great solution for how to overcome the current indifference towards the Royal Family. Entertaining and enjoyable, I reckon the belly laughs will come in due course with increased confidence.

Colin HoultOur headliner, and a fairly late replacement to the advertised programme, was Colin Hoult in his persona as… Colin Hoult, having only known him before as the amazing Anna Mann, winner of last year’s Chrisparkle Award for Best of the Rest in Edinburgh. Colin is returning to old-fashioned stand up, and judging by last night’s performance it’s going to be a winner. From his opening gambit that all men should call each other babe (I might try it this weekend) through an examination of his family background and the characteristics of that multi-faceted bunch of people, he has brilliant comic observations about class and behaviour which he weaves into a constant conversation with the audience. He has this amazing ability to connect with each of us individually, so that it feels like a private meeting; I guess it’s that sense of genuine sincerity in everything he says. He has a terrific sequence about using Ouija boards – and I was truly surprised at how many members of the audience have done it! If you enjoy Anna, you’ll recognise her lurking not too far beneath Colin’s surface, but it’s none the worse for that! A terrific end to the evening.

Our next meetup with the Comedy Crate at the Bradlaugh is on March 9th – you ought to come along!

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Royal and Derngate, Northampton, 27th January 2023

Screaming Blue MurderA big welcome back to Screaming Blue Murder and their first gig of the year which had sold out well in advance. An unusual vibe this time – although quite a refreshing one – in that there were approximately 20 17- and 18-year-olds from Northampton School for Boys (who were mostly girls, and I still haven’t quite figured that out) populating the front rows. Fortunately, they threw themselves whole-heartedly into the proceedings, and (mostly) laughed their socks off all night.

Dan EvansThis presented an interesting challenge to our regular genial host, Dan Evans, who quickly got them splitting their sides. It’s true – he suggested that all the older people would be looking at fresh-faced 17-year-old Joshua, purely with the intent of harvesting his organs. Guilty as charged. It wasn’t all kiddiwinks though, with poor Mark on his own in the front row surrounded by students, plus good sport Rob, vehicle salesman Ash and his mental health nurse wife whose name I’ve forgotten, soz.

Iszi LawrenceFirst up was Iszi Lawrence, whom we’ve seen a couple of times before at Screaming Blue Murders – she always has great material, but it sometimes takes an audience a while to settle into her pattern. She has a lovely sequence about coming out as bi to her mum, and I did like the material about how she acquired her cat, grotesque sound effects and all. She gets carried away with the subject of dinosaurs, which she admits to herself isn’t funny but can be fascinating – if you’re also into dinosaurs. One of the lads from Northampton School for Boys was definitely into dinosaurs and was agreeing demonstrably with her. As for the rest of us… I’m not sure the dino material works really!

Jamie D'SouzaNext was someone new to us, Jamie D’Souza, a quirky mix of Swiss and Indian (Swindian – not from Swindon, it’s not that bad, as he said.) Immaculately funny, with a perfectly structured routine, beautifully chosen words revealing a true feel for the language, and absolutely superb timing. His whole performance is one big act of self-deprecation and it works brilliantly. So many clever throwaway lines, and he leads you up a garden path to expect an ending to a joke which turns out to be something completely different. I particularly loved his material about being hopeless and inexperienced at sex, and the idea of making “old person noises” when he sits down. Terrific – and someone we would definitely want to see again.

Jonny AwsumOur headliner, and someone who’s always an invigorating presence, was the musical comedy genius of Jonny Awsum. Uplifting, inclusive and very, very funny, he jumps from comedy song to comedy song and each one is a delight. I particularly liked his Humming Song, and he got Rob from the audience up to help him with his Rapping Rhymes sequence, which was brilliant. There’s also a song with a chorus involving a well-known TV chef; I just wonder if Mr Awsum realises the said chef died over three years ago. I guess it doesn’t matter!

A great night’s entertainment – looking forward to the next one in February; check for returns, as it’s already sold out!