Yet 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?
Our 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.
Second 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.
The 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!