Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 21st April 2017

Screaming Blue MurderIt’s been a few weeks since we last went to a Screaming Blue Murder, and when I finally snuck my way through the crowds into the Underground my preferred seat(s) had already been taken. Slightly emboldened by the fact that I knew regular host Dan Evans wouldn’t pick on me, I ventured one row closer to the stage. And what happens? “Ladies and gentlemen, meet your host and compere for this evening, Windsor!” Windsor. Not Dan. We’ve seen Windsor before, he’s brilliant. I knew precisely what was in store.

WindsorLess than 30 seconds into his material he’d ascertained my name and assured me that we’d be working a lot together during the course of the evening. He wasn’t wrong. By the time we’d finished he made me confess our favourite sexual position and had me demonstrate to two other guys the correct amount of pressure to apply to a clitoris. He’s a fantastic host, because, despite all that, he really puts the audience at ease – he was excellent in his interaction with the girls from a certain hotel in West Haddon – and, even if he picks on you, he’s never cruel and I enjoyed the opportunity for a little friendly sparring!

Luke BensonWe’d seen all the three comics before but that didn’t matter because they were all on top form and fresh as daisies. First up was Luke Benson, the gentle, genial Geordie giant, all 6ft 7in of him. As you might expect, he gets a lot of great material from his height; his girlfriend goes up on him, for example. He forms a great connection with the audience, reacts inventively to anything that happens during his set, and he’s absolutely right about how there are some things you just can’t measure in millimetres. He went down really well.

Juliet MeyersOur second act was Juliet Meyers, who I remember always likes to use the C word within her first few exchanges – and once again she didn’t disappoint. She had a lot of new material since the last time we saw her, which was great, including how to cope with a needy dog, and the problems that women face going to the GP. I think she really succeeds when there are a substantial number of women in the audience, as there were last Friday – and she really capitalised on that!

Anthony KingOur headline act was Anthony King, brilliant interpreter of psychopathic crime to music, which is way funnier than it sounds. You wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover he is the inspiration for all the criminals on Midsomer Murders. Sometimes he just can’t quite maintain the straight face which makes it even better. I still feel sorry for the centipede. 100% hilarious.

A really superb night’s comedy, with everyone giving their best – and also, if I may say so myself, we were a cracking audience. Windsor said at the end that the next one will be in May… but one look in my ticket drawer shows that it’s on again next week. So why not come?!

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 31st January 2014

Screaming Blue MurderLast Friday’s Screaming Blue Murder could have started better for me. As we were waiting for the show to start, a young man blundered in, tripped over a chair leg and ended up spilling his cider all over my trousers. These things happen of course, but I would have preferred an apology rather than just an embarrassed titter. So I had to look to Mrs Chrisparkle to provide tissues to mop up my wet legs that remained cold and clammy for the rest of the evening. Never mind, his mother apologised to me in the interval and she was a stunner.

Angie McEvoyNo Dan Evans this week, instead we had Angie McEvoy hosting. Angie’s been here a few times, both as host and as an act, and I must admit I do like her style. She’s very laid back, very relaxed; perhaps sometimes a little over-quiet, and there were times when she could have torn strips off those noisy so-and-so’s at the back who were having their own party and really irritating the rest of us. She did eventually do her wonderful heckle put-down act, which we’ve seen before and works a treat. She also did her routine involving Calpol, which always hits the funnybone.

Luke BensonOur first act was Luke Benson, 6ft 7in of Geordie comic. He had a good matey vibe about him, which contrasted quite nicely with some surreal wordplay – for example, he said he’d had his appendix removed, which now made him quite hard to reference. I guffawed. Others guffawed about two seconds later, which I guess meant I was more in tune with him than everyone else. I also liked his line about “describe yourself in three words”; answer – “concise”. Took me a while to get it. Took Lady Duncansby until the interval. He went down well in the audience.

Jessica FostekewSecond was Jessica Fostekew, who reminded me a little of Helen Lederer, with her rather exquisite voice and general cuteness. She started off with a load of fast and furious one-liners, in a kind of Brechtian style, by telling us in advance that was what she would do, and by hurtling to the punch line almost before we’d had the chance to assimilate the lead-up. She had some good entertaining material, and I did enjoy her doing the travel news.

Geoff BoyzThe final act was Geoff Boyz, a likeable Scottish guy with a strong confident style, some punchy material and the best Robert de Niro impersonation you are ever likely to see. He did a really good routine about staying as a guest in someone else’s house which brought out all the comic anxieties all of us face under those circumstances. One of those rare occasions where the headline act definitely worked the best.

Great news that it was a full house, as the numbers haven’t been great recently. Still the best comedy value you can get.