Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 19th April 2013

Dan EvansYet another very busy night at the Screaming Blue Murder last Friday; as far as bums-on-seats are concerned, this must be their most successful season yet – so congratulations to everyone involved! Our compere was Dan Evans, back on fine form and handling a difficult front row heckler with great aplomb. She didn’t shut up when he was being subtle with her, so he started ridiculing her in front of everyone, and it worked! Dan is still delving deep with new material, and I did like his joke about stalking Doctor Who assistants. I find it more entertaining to hear his new material, but his old joke about “the appearance of space” still has everyone rolling in the aisles though, so who am I to judge?

Ria LinaOur first act was someone new to us, Ria Lina. A girl with a ukelele – suggests a promising start – but unfortunately her first song was just rather tasteless and offensive without being funny, and it got her started on the wrong footing. She did have some good material, but some of it was race-based, and us simple folk in Northampton may not get political jokes but we are remarkably unprejudiced. Her final song about being middle class and not famous was actually really wittily written and structured, but by then the energy had sapped away a bit, so she received polite rather than warm applause.

Marc LuceroSecond up was Marc Lucero, who we have seen before and enjoyed very much, but this time he was on fire. It was largely the same routine as before but his pace and timing were spot on, and the personality behind the gags emerged just perfectly. Some excellent observations about the local fathers creating their own self-help group, and the design fault in a crane system designed to lower you into the bath; and a brilliant final story involving the au pair’s knickers ended his set on a complete high, so that we went into the second interval still howling with laughter.

Mary BourkeThe headline act was Mary Bourke, who we’ve seen twice before in 2010 and 2011 and she always delivers top class comedy. What surprised and delighted me was that this was 95% brand new material – only her (hilarious) observations about mumsnet from previous shows still made an appearance. She had some great material about providing “yoof” with rhymes about dissing their mothers; an excellent suggestion for the title of Amanda Holden’s autobiography, something you won’t find on a “Welcome to Luton” street sign, and much more besides. A most assured performance – and incredibly funny. So we can list this as another great Screaming Blue Murder night, and believe me it is the best value comedy entertainment imaginable!

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground, Derngate, Northampton, 27th May 2011

Jeremy O'DonnellSomething’s not quite right with the Screaming Blue Murder situation. The numbers are dwindling away. This week I reckon barely fifty people turned up, which is a bit of a disaster for a comedy night, as laughter is infectious and the more people there are, the greater the atmosphere. This is most noticeable at those times when where laughter would normally continue for a while, it stopped; so when the comics needed to take a swig of water from their bottle, for example, it could sometimes be in silence. Not great for the atmosphere. So I think it was a hard task for this week’s performers to make the humour last, but to give them credit, they were all excellent.

Our compere was Jeremy O’Donnell. It was his first time as host here and I thought he was a very warm and funny presence. He connected well with the audience and got us as hyped up as it was possible to be under the circumstances. He actually picked on Mrs Chrisparkle and I briefly at one stage, but it was an enjoyable exchange and we didn’t feel uncomfortable. So thanks for that!

Marc LuceroThe first act was Marc Lucero, an older, grey haired comic with a slightly dishevelled look and excellent material. He had a great little routine about the benefits of gun crime in North London; a really funny observation about food miles on your plate, and a great way of coming to terms with moving from a regular cooked breakfast to a doctor-enforced muesli alternative. I won’t give away the punchlines, but he was really funny!

Marian Pashley Second was Marian Pashley. This was the second time she has appeared at the club since we’ve been going, and I remember her act fondly. Regrettably she more or less did exactly the same act again, so it was only mildly amusing for us. She has a very nice deadpan delivery though, and her self-deprecation material is very entertaining.

Michael SmileyOur final act was Michael Smiley, originally from Northern Ireland and using his accent and roots to great effect with observational comedy about being Irish and living in London. I particularly liked his stuff about what used to be the voice of terror is now the voice of Tesco. Great energy, and you forgot the fact that it was a small audience.

So all in all a really good night. Come on, Northampton comedy lovers, come back to the Screaming Blue Murder nights. Great value entertainment!