Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 26th May 2017

Screaming Blue MurderI’ve seen a full house for a Screaming Blue Murder before but this was as full as the legendary pack of sardines! Extra rows and not a spare seat to be had for love nor money. This was the last of this season’s Screaming Blues so everyone obviously needed to be supercharged with comedy to keep us healthy for the dry months ahead.

Dan EvansOur host was Dan Evans, as usual, who had a job keeping certain members of the audience in hand, including the rather posh sounding Charlotte and her husband Richard who came in with some killer blow punchlines that even Dan had to admire. I think as it was the last show of the season, Dan decided to abandon all suggestion of new material and spoil us all with his Greatest Hits – I even got an apology for his doing so! Rest assured, they worked perfectly on the night.

Otiz CannelloniWe’d seen all three acts before but that wasn’t a problem with a line-up of this calibre. First up was Otiz Cannelloni; I’m surprised he doesn’t say he’s full of beans, so I’ll say it for him. (Or is that cannellini?) He’s a naturally hilarious guy – starting with nonsensical one-liners to get you going, then moving into interactions with the audience: “I don’t believe in first impressions… you sir, you might not be a twat”. He’s great at dishing out the general wisecracks, never going too deep into an observation because he’s funniest at the shallow end, if you get my swimming pool analogy. And I loved the idea of milfos. This is all blended in with some cunning magic; Simon, the front row lifeguard, had to choose a card and, although he came too soon with the fact that it was the Queen of Hearts, Mr Cannelloni had already secreted it separately about his person. A brilliant way to start the show.

Amy HowerskaNext was Amy Howerska, whom we’d seen here a year ago but who also co-hosted Spank! in Edinburgh the first time we went. She’s a brilliant blend of Polish, Irish and Jewish, with a mission to make everyone laugh – she finally cracked the miserable guy on the front row in the last few minutes. She’s happy to get down and dirty – with her material at least – and I enjoyed her advice on Brazilians, her impersonation of her Auntie Babs and what it’s like to be an Irish sperm. Great attack, constantly spinning off the audience – which she does so well, and she went down a storm.

Pierre HollinsOur final act of the night was Pierre Hollins; if you looked at a police identity parade and were asked which one’s called Pierre, he’d be the last you’d pick; and if you were asked which one was guilty, he’d probably be the first. He has a larger than life blokey personality, full of great comic observations and ending his act with a couple of comedy songs. Had everyone in hysterics from the start to the finish. Always a winner, always one to look forward to again.

Alas, no more Screaming Blue Murders until the autumn! What will we do?

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 22nd April 2016

Screaming Blue MurderFirst Screaming Blue Murder for us for a few weeks and it also happened to be a birthday celebration! So when Dan Evans called out if anyone was celebrating anything I cried out an excitable “Yes!” to which he replied “oh not you…” It’s lovely to be a valued member of the audience. Actually, there were some other much more…vociferous people there who were also celebrating. My moment in the spotlight passed quickly.

Dan EvansDan had plenty to contend with, with a front row half stocked with over-enthusiastic birthday partyers, and half with a party of police constables. You had to feel sorry for P.C. Tom, sat in the front row, right in the middle, and, as everyone agreed, thoroughly gorgeous looking. Every act commented on how he was a stunner. One of them even made him stand up and accept the (maybe jealous) plaudits of the crowd. He took it like a man – in other words he didn’t complain and he giggled a lot with his mate.

Chris WashingtonOur first act was bluff Northerner Chris Washington. He was new to us and, I must say, we really enjoyed his act. He took it all at a nice confident pace, and with bags of very funny material, you never doubted you were going to be in for a fun half hour. Included in his routine was an excellently bizarre weapons amnesty (in honour of the police guests I think), how men and women differ when they answer the door to the postie when they’ve just got out of bed, and the economics of dog ownership. I particularly enjoyed his mate’s CV – I’m presuming it’s not genuine but if it is, that’s terrific – and a brilliant last gag that mixes Lego with legover. An excellent start.

Amy HowerskaOur second act was Amy Howerska, whom we have seen before but as part of the hosting team of Spank! on our first visit to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014. Again, extremely funny, she’s one of those comedians whose act just flies by in a whoosh of sex jokes and brilliant observations and it’s hard to pin down whether she dwelt for very long on any particular subject. She did have some great material about not being emotional because she comes from a military family, has a wide range of excellent accents, including her Eastern European bikini wax lady, and she introduced me to the concept of Penis Braille. (Not on a one-to-one basis, I should add). Bright, funny; a little challenging from time to time but all to the good.

Robert WhiteIn a change to the advertised programme, our final act was Robert White, whom we have seen three times before. He’s always been brilliant in the past, and he was brilliant again. Mixing being gay with Aspergers’, chucking in a keyboard and a penchant for comedy songs, scouring the front row for straight guys to embarrass, what could go wrong? He has one of the fastest-thinking brains imaginable, so can seemingly create brand new, person-specific comedy material at the drop of a pair of pants. Just superb.

Another excellent house saw a terrific line-up. Why don’t you come next time? 13th May if you’re wondering!