Time for what I am sure will be another comic highlight of the week, it’s the return of Kev’s Komedy Kitchen – The Second Cumin at Just the Cask Room @ Just the Tonic at The Mash House at 15:40 on Thursday 24th. Here’s the blurb: “’A masterpiece of performance and comedy’ (NottsComedyReview.wordpress.com). More culinary television show shenanigans from the hapless but award-winning Kevin Dewsbury and put upon producer Will Hutchby. Can Kevin finally get his career on track and exorcise the demons of the past? It’s just a cooking show after all! Plus we may get to find out what has been going on in the world of unlikely Italian chef Michelli Newelli! ‘An underground hit!’ (HuffingtonPost.co.uk).”
We saw the original Kev’s Komedy Kitchen twice; once at Edinburgh last year, then again at the Leicester Comedy Festival in February because it was so more-ish. I can’t wait to see what horrendous things will be going on again in Kevin’s Kookery world, and whether Will will keep his temper under control this time. Check back around 5 pm to see how much fun it was. By then the next preview blog should be available to read too.
Another beautifully crafted dollop of Kookery magic from Kev’s kitchen; this year he’s risen again (like a soufflé) after a much needed rehab, I mean retreat, and is flogging his inspirational Kevjuice to anyone who’ll listen to his daft jingle. Will is still trying to hold it together whilst accidentally promoting Kev’s main komedy rivals. A lovely parody of the TV cookery show genre, this one has a delightfully surprise ending that you definitely won’t see coming. Only a few days left to catch this show – what are you waiting for?!
For our second show on Comedy Saturday, Mrs Chrisparkle and I took the gang to see Kev’s Komedy Kitchen, a show we’d already seen in Edinburgh last summer, which we both found knock-out funny, and was in fact the recipient of last year’s Chrisparkle Award for Edinburgh Best of the Rest – which is rather a graceless title that I think I need to alter. It appears that this was probably the last ever performance of the show in this format, so any spoilers I reveal in this review, aren’t really.
You’re greeted by Floor Manager Will who explains that it’s a recording of a TV show and warns us not to wave at the cameras. As if we would. He also advises us to laugh at anything Kev says that’s funny – or thinks is funny; and whilst happily reminiscing over Kev’s successful tours in the past, he reminds us not to mention 2012… as it wasn’t a good year. Naturally, the only person who mentions 2012 as the show progresses, is Will; but there is a limit to which even he can keep up that chirpy positivity when you’re dealing with a bunch of pensioners watching the recording of a show that is pure bumf, and featuring guests with the social graces of Sooty and Sweep but with none of their sense of humour. By the time the show’s started he’s already dissed Kev for attracting nothing like the number of punters as Stephen Bailey had the previous night, and as for that Romesh Ranganathan….
I digress (like he did). Will’s introductory speech totally sets the scene for what’s to come. Even before we’ve met Kev we know a) he’s not as funny as he thinks he is, and b) his life and career had a big tumble which he hasn’t come to terms with. You just know that during the course of the next hour we’re going to see this guy start to (apple) crumble and watch his career go down the (hot) pan. If that sounds rather sad – well, it is! But that’s the strength of the show: watching Kev kling to the wreckage as his guest celebrity turns out to be po-faced, patronising and thick as two short fish fingers, as his guest comic gets more laughs than he does, thus building up Kev’s resentment against him, and as his high-flying guest chef lets him down at the last minute to be replaced by Marco Pierre Shite. It is the comedy of cruelty, played straight to emphasise the seriousness behind the laughter, but always with the accent on the comic rather than the cruel – until it descends into a semi-apocalyptic free-for-all at the end.
Rather like when I worked in Contracts Management for the local council, anything that could go wrong in the recording of Kev’s Komedy Kitchen, does go wrong. The pre-prepared meal for them to taste is inedible because Josh the assistant forgot to put the oven on, (or rather, in the case of Saturday’s performance, he says he did put the oven on, much to Will’s surprise – nicely handled, sir) the po-faced celebrity refuses to try any of the food, the celebrity chef’s cordon bleu creation is a Sainsbury’s Scotch Egg and the guest comic returns at the end to physically assault Kev for being such a knob. All the while Kev is progressively getting more and more inebriated as the po-faced celebrity refuses to sample the Chardonnay, which is really all the excuse he needs to gulp it all.
It’s a genuinely hilarious comic creation that, once started, is a crash course to oblivion for our Kev with no way out. Beautiful performances from everyone, with Will Hutchby positively effervescent with enthusiasm until the sequence of disasters makes him tear his hair out, and Hannah Blakeley is spot on as the ghastly Grace Loretta, whose freakish Orwello ends up writhing all over the stage mad as a box of frogs. She had me at Halloumi (you had to be there). Mike Newall brings all the vibrant personality of Liam Gallagher on a downer to his dour celebrity chef, and, as the guest comic, Liam Pickford wiped the floor with his erudite gag about how a Southern fried chicken baguette mixes cuisines of two origins and therefore could be seen as cousins who might kiss at a Christening. He also wiped the floor with Kev once he’d slung him a few left hooks. Plus, of course, Kevin Dewsbury brilliant as the eponymous Kev, brave in the face of adversity, prickly when his professionalism is doubted, conducting hilariously awful interviews, pushing old puns to the limit and beautifully portraying that day in a person’s life when, as one disaster follows another after another, they just reach the conclusion: f*ck it.
As suspected, our fellow comedy-goers loved it too. Even though the original Komedy Kitchen has now gone to that great Aga in the sky, it will be back in a new format as The Second Cumin and I for one can’t wait to catch it in Edinburgh later this year!
For our next show, it looks like it’s going to be stand-up with a twist – Kev’s Komedy Kitchen, at Just the Cask Room @ Just the Tonic at the Mash House, at 15:40 on Tuesday 23rd. Here’s what the website has to say about it: “Seasoned comedian Kevin Dewsbury returns to the Edinburgh Festival to host a new TV cookery show, featuring special guests from the Fringe, exciting recipes and a few surprises. No two shows will be the same! The perfect afternoon Fringe show. Kevin has brought critically acclaimed solo comedy shows to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in the past. Now, with the popularisation of food, he’s here to combine the ingredients of comedy and cookery. There’ll be something to tickle everyone’s taste buds. ‘A real treat of understated deadpan humour’ (ThreeWeeks).”
We’ve seen Kevin Dewsbury perform a few times before and he’s brilliant, both at the stand-up and the compering. This is going to be something a little different, I think; Mrs Chrisparkle and I don’t do cookery programmes any more – not since we gave in to the God of Eating Out – but I don’t think that’s going to matter. Check back about 4.00 to see if it was a fine feast of humour and by then the preview blog for our next show should be available to read too.
Absolutely brilliant! Beautifully structured disastrous cookery show where everything that can go wrong does. Kookery Kev does his best to make a go of it but who could survive the over enthusiastic floor manager, special guest, celebrity chef and that art house actress! We laughed solidly the whole hour through. One of the funniest shows this year.