Edinburgh Fringe 2023 Reviews – Ahir Shah: Ends (WIP), Dane Baptiste: Bapsquire, Sam Williams: Himbo (WIP), and Myra Dubois: Be Well.

Ahir ShahAhir Shah: Ends (WIP), Monkey Barrel Comedy.

From Work in Progress to Edinburgh Award for Best Stand-up Comedy Show, this has been quite the few weeks for Ahir Shah! Always an assured performer, he has really taken it up several gears this year to present Ends, one of the most beautiful and emotional stand-up routines I’ve ever seen. An homage to his nanaji – maternal grandfather – who arrived in the UK in 1964, leaving behind his wife and three kids in order to work to raise enough money so that the family could join him – five years later. But it’s also a look at the differences between today and the 1960s, with hilarious stories including why he’s grateful for his Latin schooling and his dad’s reaction to Sunak becoming Prime Minister. Mr Shah’s comic delivery is fast and furious; I doubt any other comedian gets quite as many words into his hour as he does. His material is fully original and always comes from the heart. There’s a serious side to almost everything he says, but he never loses sight of the fact that the show should, above all, be very, very funny. This is about as good as it gets.

Dane Baptiste: Bapsquire, Monkey Barrel Comedy (The Hive).

Dane BaptisteDane Baptiste returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with a brand new show, Bapsquire, his self-styled super-English alter ego designed to broaden his audience in these harsh austerity times, even if it means being somebody he isn’t. But the old Dane still comes through, more mature now he’s 41 and shortly to become a father, and still angry at injustice and prejudice. He’s resigned to performing in a venue that smells of bin juice and urine, because it’s all going very well in showbusiness. Unlike Ahir Shah whom we saw earlier, he’s much less forgiving of Rishi Sunak because the PM’s no friend to the performing arts and would have wanted him to retrain; and he’s also unforgiving of the racism he has encountered – why wouldn’t he be? As always, he has a surefire manner and supreme stage confidence, and it’s a show packed with laughs and original material. And whatever you do, don’t offer him any vegan cheese. A great show.


Sam Williams: Himbo (WIP), Just the Tonic at the Caves.

Sam WilliamsSam Williams’ Work in Progress show takes him from his middle-class upbringing in Maidenhead, through middle-class living in London, to visiting his parents in middle-class rural Wales. He’d be the first to say that he’s middle class, but his story also involves mummy issues, therapy, a psychic, dogging, masturbating in class, and having to come out as Christian. A slightly surreal last show of his Edinburgh run, as Mrs Chrisparkle and I formed two-thirds of his audience. But Sam was up for it and keen to give his best, and there’s a lot of entertaining material there, which just needs a little sharpening up – but that will come. An extremely likeable performer, with a confident stage presence, a perfect communicator’s voice, and an unexpected show finale!


Myra DuBois: Be Well, Pleasance Dome.

Myra DuboisRotherham’s answer to Dame Edna, Myra Dubois hosts a get-together of people who need her help – and the nearer to the stage they are sitting, the more in need of help they are. In fact, she announces she’s giving up showbiz in order to work with her wellness guru to give a little love back to the world. All of the trademark elements of a Myra show are there – thinly veiled jealousy of her sister Rose, some no holds-barred interaction with the audience, and a couple of ghastly comedy songs. There’s no doubt that she’s a great comic creation, but this show falls apart with about fifteen minutes to go, when there doesn’t appear to be much material left to wrap it up. There was also some excruciating chat with one member of the audience where Myra asked him about the therapy he was undertaking – and he accidentally overshared why he was having it and she made the most inappropriate rejoinder – I hope the chap wasn’t offended! Started very well – tailed off significantly!


The Edinburgh Fringe All Month Long – 27th August 2023

And we come to our penultimate day of the Fringe! And it’s a big day of comedy!

Here’s the schedule for 27th August:

13.25 – Ahir Shah: Ends, Monkey Barrel Comedy. From the Edinburgh Fringe website:

Ahir Shah“Double Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Ahir Shah returns for his first full Fringe since 2019’s Dots (now available on HBO Max). This one’s about family, immigration, marriage, history, politics and beans. ***** (Telegraph). **** (Guardian). **** (Times).”

I love Ahir Shah, he’s a thoroughly intelligent and intellectual chap and his humour is always superb! This show has been “downgraded” to a Work-in-Progress in the run up to the Fringe, but that doesn’t cause me any worries!

16.15 – Dane Baptiste: Bapsquire, Monkey Barrel Comedy (The Hive).

Dane Baptiste“Most of us are supposed to mellow with age and Dane shouldn’t be the angry black man the media portrays him to be at times. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s been a long time since he was the first black British act nominated for an Edinburgh award. But post-pandemic, he’s now back and more mature with his adult alias: Bapsquire.”

Dane Baptiste is another comedian whom I always see if I possibly can – always gives you food for thought combined with brilliant laughs.

18.25 – Sam Williams: Himbo (WIP), Just the Tonic at the Caves.

Sam Williams“Part-time naked butler, full-time Ariana Grande super fan Sam Williams has quickly become British comedy’s brightest ‘good-looking chap’ (Chortle.co.uk). Watch Sam’s work-in-progress show to see an exciting up-and-comer answer the great existential question of our time: what does a himbo have to say? 2023 Komedia New Comedy Award winner. 2021 Chortle Student Comedy Award runner-up. 2022 2Northdown New Act of the Year finalist. 2022 Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year finalist. ‘Vivid, inventive, a winning personality… the complete package’ (Chortle.co.uk).”

Bit of a lucky punt this one – I know nothing about Sam Williams but the description made me laugh!

20.00 – Myra DuBois: Be Well, Pleasance Dome.

Myra Dubois“With her passion for compassion and flair for giving care, the ‘bust a gut funny’ (Graham Norton) Myra DuBois calls out to the disadvantaged, downtrodden and tyrannised of the world with her manifesto for mental health: AdMyrism! But are you ready to receive the call? Having left audiences across the globe in physical pain from laughter with her take-no-prisoners brand of rapid-fire comedy; the ‘acid-tongued, funny to the bone’ (Time Out), Myra DuBois lays her healing hands on the masses in this; her wellness sermon.”

You can always rely on Myra Dubois to have a great show – what magic will she come up with this time?

21.40 – Healing King Herod, Underbelly Cowgate.

Healing King Herod“King Herod, famed for his Massacre of the Innocents, now leads a self-development pyramid scheme. Ancient soldiers become modern clients in an interactive, drag-clown therapy session. Through improvised songs, political parody and cult-like rituals, Herod asks one thing: forgive… yourself. VAULT Festival sell-out show, nominated for Show of the Week, Herod returns to heal Edinburgh. But who is his process really for? Created by Comedy Central-endorsed clown Riss Obolensky and director Eloïse Poulton. ‘Funny, memorable, bold’ ****½ (TheReviewsHub.com). ‘Side-splitting laughs’ ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Raging lesbian’ ***** (DIVA Magazine). ‘Brilliantly weird’ **** (FringeBiscuit.co.uk). ‘Best thing I’ve ever seen’ (LostCabaret.com).”

One of these ridiculous shows that only the Fringe can offer, but usually they’re good end-of-day fun!

Check back later to see how we enjoyed all these shows!

Three London Comedy Clubs – a Review Round-Up

rose-and-crown-frontOver the past couple of months my pal the Squire of Sidcup and I have attended three comedy nights in various locations round London. I probably should have reviewed them individually earlier, but for some weird reason I haven’t found them that easy to write about. Was it the perplexity of the venues? The quality of the comedy? The level of alcohol consumed? I couldn’t possibly comment.

James LoveridgeOur first event was on 4th December last year when we went to the Rose and Crown in Kentish Town, home of the Pegasus Comedy Club. The Rose and Crown is a rather nice pub and the comedy club is held in its basement. It doesn’t seat many people, and we were quite surprised to be two of about fifteen people in attendance – I thought that was quite good for a little place and for a Monday night of comics giving us some Work In Progress sessions. What we were most surprised to discover was that of those fifteen people we were the only ones not appearing on stage! So in fact it was a cast of thirteen each doing about five minutes’ material to an audience of two. Still, it was free to get in, so I’m certainly not complaining.

Darren WalshOne consequence of that is that the host, Richard, didn’t always make the names of all the performers clear, as they were basically all friends together. As a result, I don’t have many of the names to hand. Two of the performers – and probably the two with the best delivery and material – were comics I had seen before (the Squire didn’t know any of them at all.) James Loveridge, of Edinburgh Spank (you love it!) fame, had some excellent new stuff about spending time with his fiancée; and Darren Walsh (whom Mrs Chrisparkle and I had also seen in Edinburgh) had another punful bundle of one-liners that made his five minutes fly by. We’re seeing him at the Leicester Comedy Festival next month and the omens are looking good.

Alex MartiniThere was one other comic who was new to me but who impressed – Alex Martini; a naturally very funny man with a very engaging personality. Of the rest, there were plenty who raised a number of smiles and only one who was absolutely dire.

Top SecretFast forward through the Christmas period and the Squire and I had another foray in the world of London Comedy, this time at the Top Secret Club in Drury Lane on 16th January. I could give you more information as to where it is, but then I’d have to kill you and I don’t want to risk losing my readership. Another basement affair, but this time in a room that grows and grows the more people arrive. The Squire and I sat in the front row and paid the penalty with some joshing from the excellent compere, Nico Yearwood, and also one of the comics, Leo Kearse, who challenged me to think of my chat-up tactics; Nico Yearwoodas I said on the night, but it’s been so long… We also enjoyed Stephen Carlin, who had good material but lacked a little warmth, I felt; the amazing Russell Hicks, who just went off on a tangent as he always does, with fantastic consequences; and headliner Tim Renkow, who brilliantly converts his cerebral palsy into comedy gold, and if you think that sounds inappropriate, well, you obviously haven’t seen his act. A very comfortable and enjoyable venue, and a really great show. Entry was only £1, but getting out was more expensive.

Russell HicksThen last night the Squire and I met up with his beloved, the Wise Woman of Wembley, and, after a dreadful meal at Café Rouge (they should be ashamed of themselves) we hit the 99 Club at the Ruby Blue, just off Leicester Square. Instead of descending into a bunker we ascended up the stairs into a bright and pizzazzy bar area, with a comedy room off to the left. A rather strange set up, because it was very wide and very shallow, probably only about five rows deep but extending way out to the side, where I’m sure you would feel thoroughly distanced from the comedy vibe.

Tim RenkowComedically, this was a game of two halves, as we were lulled into a false sense of security by our excellent compere Tom Webb, whose welcome is genial and who plays off the audience really well. He established, for example, that Trev, who was celebrating his 55th birthday, who was provocatively seated in the front row, was an Elvis Impersonator by trade. That was bold. Tom WebbHaving set us up nicely, Mr Webb introduced first act, Mike Gunn, and I’m afraid we all agreed that he didn’t tickle our funnybones at all. A few uncomfortable silences and half-hearted responses suggested we weren’t the only ones; although I sensed there was a language problem in the audience – one of the downsides of a comedy club in a very touristy area is that you will have a number of punters for whom English is not their first language and who don’t always get the nuances. athena-kugblenuNever mind, we knew that the excellent Athena Kugblenu, who was brilliant when we saw her at the Ark, would lift the mood. But no, she too struggled to get us difficult crowd to raise a smile.

Dane BaptisteI was beginning to feel guilty at having asked my friends out to see this disappointing show. Fortunately our headline act was the National Treasure-In-Waiting, Dane Baptiste. I’ve seen Monsieur Baptiste a few times, including his Gold Oil Drugs show in Edinburgh last summer, which he is still touring – and I was delighted to see that it was all new material last night. He smashed it out of court, to use the vernacular, and went down a storm. As an encore, Tom Webb got Trev to get up and do an Elvis playout and the good chap obliged, so more power to his elbow. But I didn’t feel that the layout worked at all for this little stage area and at £9 a ticket plus booking fee, for what was only a little over an hour-and-a-half’s show, (and distinctly London prices for the drinks) this was the most expensive of the three comedy nights.

99 clubI’m sure the Squire and I will do this again, and it’s fascinating to see the variety of comedy venues available in the capital. Even if some acts flop and others just aren’t your cup of tea, live comedy is a thing of beauty to be nurtured and cherished. If you haven’t tried it before, you really should!

The Edinburgh Fringe One-Weeker 2017 – Dane Baptiste: G.O.D. (Gold. Oil. Drugs.), 25th August 2017

Dane Baptiste GODYet more comedy of the highest order; our next show is Dane Baptiste: G.O.D. (Gold. Oil. Drugs.) at Pleasance Above @ Pleasance Courtyard at 21:00 on Friday 25th. Let’s check that blurb: “Original, provocative and exceptionally prolific, Dane returns to the Fringe with a show about our worldwide pursuit of wealth, power and pleasure. Baptiste made comedy history in 2014 as the first Black British act to be nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy Award. ‘Observational comedy at its finest’ (Independent). ‘Outstandingly perceptive’ (Scotsman). As seen on Live at the Apollo (BBC Two), Tonight at the London Palladium (ITV1), Mock the Week (BBC Two), Live from the BBC (BBC Two), 8 out of 10 Cats (Channel 4) and his own BBC sitcom, Sunny D.”

Dane BWe’ve seen M. Baptiste (with that surname I always think he should be “Monsieur”) a few times now and he’s absolutely brilliant. It’s always a great combination of intelligent observation, self-deprecation, and the totally absurd! Very excited to see him again. Check back around 10.15 pm to see how good he was. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.

As usual, M. Baptiste delivered the goods! Gold, oil and drugs, plus their by-products and equivalents, are taken to task for their role as false gods in our current society. I love how intelligent and well reasoned all his arguments and observations are. Dane is a National Treasure-to-be, and I’m sure he will tour with this show if you can’t get to Edinburgh. Comedy Gold (and Oil, and Drugs)!

Review – Pick of the Fest, Leicester Comedy Festival, Curve Studio, Leicester, 10th February 2017

leicester-comedy-festival-logoI think we can all agree that festivals are fun. That’s the whole idea, isn’t it? Whether it’s something massive like Edinburgh, or something tiny like the Northampton Flash Festival, the idea is that you go and see shows that may be quite short (so you can see lots in a day), financed on a shoestring, possibly for low ticket prices, at no frills venues. We’d only dipped our toe into the Leicester Comedy Festival once before, three years ago when we were amongst a lucky few to see Kevin Dewsbury’s final outing (no pun intended) of his one man show Out Now, in a back room at the Belmont Hotel. For me that was what “festival” was all about – intimate and informal, with “backstage” just as clearly visible as “stage”.

And I wonder if that’s why last Friday’s Pick of the Fest show at the Leicester Curve Studio didn’t quite work for me as a whole. We’ve seen several productions at the Studio and I’ve always really liked it as a venue – especially when we sit in the front row, because you really feel at the heart of the action. But for this show we were seated in row I (no idea why we were so far back because I’m sure I booked the tickets on the first day they became available), and the stage seemed an awfully long way away (even though it wasn’t), and that comedy club atmosphere just didn’t reach as far back as our row. Perhaps the staging was too formal, too theatre-y, and insufficiently festival-y. It just didn’t feel very relaxed.

carly-smallmanThis is one of those “compilation” shows when a number of performers come along and do some material as a promotion for their own shows on elsewhere at the festival. It’s a tried and tested formula which works well – especially with our favourite Edinburgh comedy ritual, Spank. Our host was the ebullient Carly Smallman, whom we have seen many times before and is always good value. She excels at getting to know the front few rows and poking kindly fun at their weird little ways – never cruel, unless it’s against herself, when she can indulge in devastating self-deprecation. Carly has two more shows in the festival coming up on the 17th February and the 26th February.

elf-lyons-2Our first act was someone completely new to us – Elf Lyons. She comes across as a posh girl obsessed with how she interacts with her even posher mother, who, I think we can all agree, sounds a bit of a nightmare. I enjoyed her act and she had lots of good material, although I confess I didn’t always catch all the punchlines – because I was sitting too far away, I expect. She gave us twenty minutes or so of neurotic insecurities and built up a nice rapport with the audience. Her show, Pelican, was on later that night, so if you missed it, you missed it. However, you can see what other shows she’s doing here.

paul-sinhaOur next act was an old favourite – and I hope he’ll forgive the use of the word “old”. It’s Paul Sinha, whom we’ve seen at Screaming Blue Murder shows before and he’s always a joy. I’d forgotten quite how dour and laconic his delivery can be; it’s almost as though the backstory to every line he says is “I know I’m a failure, but I’m surviving nonetheless”. He tells of the trials and tribulations of being a gay British Asian man who doesn’t bake, and how thrilled his parents were when he gave up his medical career to follow comedy. His material is both funny and telling in the way it challenges preconceptions and stereotypes. Of course, he has a lot to say about his appearances on TV’s The Chase; but I preferred his general observations of life, including discovering the best App to meet Asian men, and his alarming but hilarious account of being out on the loose in Barnsley. He’s a top class comic and he has a new work in progress show at the festival on Saturday 18th February.

Dane BaptisteIf Paul Sinha’s an old favourite, our next act, after the interval, was a new favourite – Dane Baptiste, whose Reasonable Doubts show we saw last year and really loved. I’m completely taken in by his slightly reserved, slightly authoritarian, slightly controlling style; the emphasis of his act is on quiet observation and making ridiculous contrasts, like when he is jealous of girls for having “gay best friends”, and wishes he could have a “lesbian best friend” as well. He, too, can make you challenge yourself on your preconceptions, and his humour also appeals to your own sense of intelligence – which it’s always nice to recognise. I can’t recall many of the ins and outs of his routine, I just let them wash over me. I’m sure he’s going to be a really big star one day. His Work in Progress show took place last Saturday, but he’s doing many more gigs over the next few weeks as you can see here.

Josh HowieOur final act is someone we’ve seen twice at Screaming Blue Murder clubs and both times I’m afraid I can’t pretend to have enjoyed his act much. This is Josh Howie – and there’s something about him that brings out the politically correct in me, as I bridle at his material that challenges the PC brigade. So if you like your comedy un-PC, you’ll probably love him. In fact, I was enjoying his routine (up to a point) until he started his material about hoping that his two-year-old son won’t turn out to be gay. And if he is gay, he’ll tell him how it’s particularly wrong to be a bottom. In fact, he’ll watch porn videos with him in order to point out which sex practices and roles are acceptable, and which aren’t. I know this is a ridiculous subject, and one which he hopes will be funny; and, to be honest, I wish I liked him more, but I found him borderline homophobic and, anyway, I just don’t get humour that hates people. His solo show was on the previous night, so again if you want to catch him, he still has some dates elsewhere on his UK tour.

So something of a mixed bag for our first venture into this year’s Leicester Comedy Festival, but I have very high hopes for the four shows we’re still to see… watch this space!

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 27th May 2016

Screaming Blue MurderAnother Friday night at the Screaming Blue Murder club and they’d gone back to the original seating plan – no side seats so that people could stare into the comic’s ears. But that wasn’t the main topic of conversation before curtain up – we had a “technical problem” which meant that the show started a good half hour late. I know what the “technical problem” was, but I am sworn to secrecy. All I can say about it is: hahahahahaha.

Dan EvansA downside to starting late is that, if you’ve got a rowdy crowd, they’ve got another thirty minutes to get even more tanked up than normal. Such was the predicament facing Dan Evans when he came on to warm us all up. Within seconds of his opening gambit, a chap in the front row started commenting on Dan’s new trainers. (To be fair, they were very nice.) From then on, you could hardly shut him or his mates up. And there was something… slightly threatening about them. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t threatened, oh no sirree. But I sensed others were. So the question is, do you engage with them and let them make themselves look like a fool (can be funny) or do you ignore them? Minimal engagement seemed the best option. Unfortunately, one of our acts went for a more head-to-head alternative. More of that later.

JoJo SmithOur first act was someone that we might have seen before – if so it was before I started blogging – Jo Jo Smith. Ms Smith is one helluva ballsy woman. You know the type. Sex was either the main topic or a subtopic in almost every sentence she spoke, and she was only too keen to share her experience of her post-menopausal dried-up vagina. This was particularly embarrassing for the wholesome Indian family sat in the front row. Only the father roared his head off the whole night. His offspring and his wife sat with their head in the hands wishing the earth to open up. So that Ms Smith didn’t engage with the difficult lads (quite right) she turned her attention to the Indians. Knowing the taboo nature of sex in India, the last thing those youngsters wanted was to have to confess to the nature of their sex lives in front of their parents. Their discomfort was pretty funny though. Ms Smith gave good value and we laughed a lot. She called me a silver fox, so she can’t be all bad.

Dane BaptisteOur second act, and someone we have seen before, very recently, was Dane Baptiste. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that Monsieur Baptiste (I continue to use his French title) is one of the most incisive and intelligent comics on stage today. Having seen him so recently I thought his act would largely be a repeat of what we’d seen before – but no, there was a lot of new stuff there. I absolutely loved his material about how straight guys need to have a lesbian best friend. And he dealt with the awkward guys extremely well. He has the audience in the palm of his hand and gives the most confident, assertive, but never remotely offensive, delivery. A total star in my book.

Howard ReadOur final act was Howard Read – again someone who is a frequent guest at these Screaming Blue Nights. He is a naturally most gifted comedian and has loads of material about fatherhood – including his famous lullaby, which I think he has sung every time he has been here but it is such a funny piece we’re always happy to hear it again. Unfortunately, he tried to take the difficult guys on and didn’t entirely win, so I felt we lost some valuable laughter time overall. Nevertheless, he did a great job in maybe slightly trying circumstances.

That’s it for summer! No more Screaming Blue Murders until September. Why not get booking now!

Review – Dane Baptiste, Reasonable Doubts, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 19th March 2016

D BaptisteI can’t think of any occasion where, as a rule, quantity outweighs quality. Let me just double-check that in my head…. Certainly, at least, it applies when it comes to comedy audiences. For Friday night’s Screaming Blue Murder, a packed house started off by being very quiet and weird. For Saturday night, and Dane Baptiste’s Reasonable Doubts show, at the same venue, with the same layout, a much more select group of us had a whale of a time right from the start. It all started when the two ladies who apparently met at the venue were joking with everyone waiting outside and then entering the auditorium (actually, auditorium’s a bit of a posh word for the Underground – it’s more of a room really.) Then the Mum ‘n’ Son in the front row decided to do selfies on the stage – and there was something so silly about what they were doing that it made us all laugh. By the time Mr Baptiste’s disembodied voice welcomed us in and introduced the support act, we were all very jovial indeed.

E AkbarSo, on to our support act – Eshaan Akbar. I know my Indian architecture – he must be related to the son of the man who built the Taj Mahal. Mr Akbar cracked us up with his opening gambit that he’s not a GP – because he absolutely looks the spitting image of one; probably one on a BBC serial that’s been going on for too long on Saturday nights. Mr Akbar disarmingly relaxes and entertains us with some great material and plenty of interaction with the crowd – to be honest, given the kind of people sitting at the front of the audience, there was no way any performer would be able to ignore them. A lot of his material stems from his “ex-Muslim” standpoint, which nicely takes the Mick out of racism; but there’s much more to it than that. He’s a naturally funny and likeable guy and I reckon he could Go Places. Especially if his nephew leaves his rucksack on the train seats. (His joke, not mine.)

After an early interval and a top-up of Shiraz, it was back in for our main act, Dane Baptiste. If you’ve read any of my other recent blogs, gentle reader, where we’ve been to a stand-up comedy gig and I didn’t know anything remotely about the performer – well, this is yet another one of those. I recognised the name – after all, it’s quite a swanky, memorable one – and I think I might have caught him on the TV in something, but I’m afraid it didn’t stick. I liked the fact that the show was going to be in the Underground, as it would give it a more informal, fringey, comedy club vibe, which I think definitely benefited it.

Eshaan AkbarMr Baptiste (I feel with a name like that I should call him Monsieur) is another very likeable chap who comes on stage with an authoritative air and a sense of discipline. You get the feeling that if you were to misbehave he would fix you with a steely gaze and you’d quickly be begging forgiveness. He had a very cool and plain speaking way of dealing with – well you couldn’t really call them hecklers as such, they just wanted to participate in the show a little too forwardly. But at the same time it doesn’t remotely surprise you that he goes off at a hilarious tangent whenever he sees fit, so there’s a huge sense of fun there just waiting for an escape valve. After all, you’re not attending a lecture.

Dane Baptiste1But he does create a lot of humour out of serious observations or situations. Take, for instance, his concern about his position on the Nasblaq index. In one small and extremely funny routine he raises issues of race, celebrity, self-confidence (or lack thereof) and more, all born out of one creative pun which reveals him to be a rather superior wordsmith too. I also enjoyed how he created an innocently friendly character out of “Virginity”, sweetly chatting from one of his shoulders while “Libido” growls like a randy Bad Idea Bear from the other. I can’t remember how, but Mrs Chrisparkle and I got gently roped into part of the act as we were asked how long we’d been together (answer – an awfully long time.) It can often be a sweaty moment when a comedian addresses you – but I was confident that M. Baptiste wouldn’t be one of those comics who made you regret sitting near the front so long as you’re nicely behaved. And I was right.

Dane BOne small thing – but something I do admire in a comic – there was very little swearing from M. Baptiste. The F word and its associated friends can certainly play a part in a comedy gig but it was refreshing to watch an act that didn’t rely on it at all. I reckon that if you can create a series of funny sequences and not have to swear once, it means you’ve really been cooking with those creative juices. Good work!

A really enjoyable, thoughtful and thoroughly hilarious evening of comedy. Dane Baptiste is touring through till May, and I would really recommend his show if you appreciate a good laugh!