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!

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Derngate, Northampton, 30th September

Dan Evans' bookAnother £10 well spent at the Screaming Blue Murder show in the Underground at the Derngate. Dan Evans was the compere again, and although he did his “Staying at the Travelodge Wake Up Call” routine yet again, he was still on good form and I actually bought his book at the end of the evening. He signed it for me. Looks like it will be quite funny.

Tom PriceFirst comedian was Tom Price and he was excellent. He did a nice line in the problems with having a posh accent (something with which I can sympathise as mine is not dissimilar) – one’s inability to negotiate with car mechanics, or to talk dirty. Very good!

Marian PashleyNext was Marian Pashley, again very good but didn’t quite connect as well. She has a very laid back style, and I just don’t think us Northampton comedy audiences are that sophisticated. We like it loud and inyerface. But she had some good observations – pity I can’t quite remember any of them off hand.

Alistair Barrie Last act was Alistair Barrie; he provided the most mirth of the evening, with the best lines and the most professional delivery – not entirely sure we got to know the real him though, there was in fact a bit of human warmth lacking from all three acts last night.

Sounds like I’m a bit grudging about last night’s show – but I’m not really. We had a very nice time. Sometimes it just can be very difficult to remember the details….

Actually, a funny thing happened last night. Normally people hang around in the bar outside until someone wearing a Royal & Derngate t-shirt opens the door and checks your tickets. As it’s unallocated seating, you have to get in prompto if you want a decent seat – ie in the middle, not too near the front or back. But last night some people just started walking in and taking their seats, and then others followed… being a law-abiding citizen I knew This Was Wrong but I also didn’t want to end up in the front or back row. So we also went in. So I reckon there were about 150 people in there last night, and not one of them had their ticket checked!