26th/27th January 2013 – Bike Shed Theatre – Exeter – 8 shows 2 days

Lot’s of cracking comedy this weekend and lots of big names. We first visited the Bike Shed last year for Mr Tony Law and he was awesome. It is a beautiful, intimate venue (56 seats) and the shows were put on by Henry Widdicombe organiser of the Machynlleth festival which takes place early May and is a favourite of the comics themselves. We have booked to go up this year. Our 8 shows cost us an average of £4.50 each which was an absolute steal. We hope this will return next year.

Saturday started with Suzi Ruffell (Full Size Fur), a lovely little show, and she had an enthusiastic crowd. I got to have a quick chat with her after the show, and shared our love of the work of her friend David Mills. A fab start to the weekend.IMGA0454    Suzi Ruffell

Second up, John-Luke Roberts (Lurkers on the job) with a comedy play Sock Puppet. A story of a haunted sock, and revenge! We really enjoyed this too. I only realised later that John-Luke is involved in the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society which we attended last Edingburgh.

IMGA0460     John-Luke Roberts

Next up the only sell-out crowd with local hero Josh Widdicombe (Did Jewish Combo). Another lovely chap to talk to, really down to earth. And with his style there are very few people who don’t think he will be the next comedy multi-millionaire. This was a work in progress, and went to prove Josh already has quite a few ideas for his Edinburgh show this year. Carole got involved in his new Jam routine. And we have pledged to deliver some home made jam to him at Edinburgh!

Our final show of the day was Mike Wozniak (Oz Wikki, Amen), also trialling some new material. I was forced to get rather more involved than I wanted to but this was a man we loved. Some quite dangerous material but done with skill and panache. He will be at the top of our shows to catch this Edinburgh. With all the people we saw this weekend, Carole and I were both agreed we liked this show the most, because we had no real knowledge of Mike before we saw him.

We did not go to the final show of the day. David Trent – Spontaneous Comedian. But only because we had already seen the show. That time we were sat in the front row and I knocked over my bottle of diet coke and it rolled right across the stage. It happened to be on the night he was doing a recording of the show for DVD. I did get to chat to David and apologise for the incident, and as soon as I started to recount it he finished it for me. A really lovely chap and we look forward to his new show, as he brings something different to the comedy scene, with his mix of videos and stand up.

A trip back down to Saltash and then back to Exeter the following afternoon.

First up Alfie Brown (Rainbow Elf) – Soul for Sale. An interesting one from our point of view. A small crowd, some very difficult subjects and a couple in the audience did not get it at all. We thought it was packed with lots of clever ideas. And he tried really hard to get the audience involved. Yet another winner for us. We realised afterwards we had seen Alfie at Plymouth B-Bar about a year ago having quite a hard time with the audience there who largely just expect ha-ha comedy and not stuff that challenges. We would be very happy to see Alfie again.

IMGA0462     Alfie Brown

Next up a really talented actress, comedian, writer and all round good egg, Isy Suttie (Yeti Suits). Everyone knows her as Dobby from Peep Show. But I bet she is fed up with that! This was a preview show of a show she has had commissioned for Radio 4 about rural love life. Set in her home town Matlock “Gateway to the Peak District”, this was a charming tale punctuated by some lovely and very funny songs. A real delight.

Our penultimate show of the weekend, Daniel Simonsen (Landmine Noises) with his show “Champions” which won the best newcomer show at Edinburgh last year. A very strong set from an unusual comedian, being that he is Norwegian. A whole lot of promise and we will look forward to what comes next.

IMGA0463 IMGA0464

Daniel Simonsen

To end this wonderful weekend, we were in for a treat with the multi talented Sara Pascoe (O’ AA Scrapes). This was a story of Sara’s life and loves so far “Sara Pascoe – The Musical”, I loved every minute of this. Some great stories and I have to say facially she is very reminiscent of another of our favourites Bridget Christie. And she can sing. Sara was lovely, and even though her show was brought forward to allow her to try and get to her train back in time, and despite overrunning slightly, she still had time to sign my wee book, offer us free tickets for Edinburgh this year and pose for a photo. She answered a tweet later, to say she ‘just ‘ made the train. Having seen her on news shows, panel shows etc, we know how talented she is, but yet so lovely and down to earth. We wish her all the best.

IMGA0465   Sara Pascoe

What a weekend! 6/5 and multiple gold stars! Every show was a winner, and for such a wide variety of shows, the organisers have to be commended.

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