Mike Wozniak, John Kearns, John-Luke Roberts, Mitch Benn
On Saturday night we had seen some fantastic shows with some good crowds. Today we were to see brilliant shows with disappointingly low crowds.
The Sunday schedule had a couple of early cancellations earlier in the week and I had not read one of them properly so had almost missed that Isy Suttie was being replaced by a work in progress show by Mike Wozniak – fortunately Josh Widdicombe mentioned it during his show the evening before, otherwise I would have been very cross with myself to have missed it. Mike did his award nominated show ‘Take the Hit’ on the Saturday evening. It was the only show of the weekend that we missed, and this was for the sole reason that we had seen it twice before. It was an absolutely stupendous show and when we had seen him for the first time a year ago at the same festival we had both enjoyed him most throughout the whole weekend.
We love Mike’s storytelling style, it is quite unique. And today he had filled in at very short notice to entertain us. His new show is at a much earlier evolutionary stage than when we saw him last January, but already has a winner of a story in the Edinburgh cat. Flooding featured as did family. And a lot of other not fully formed ideas. Again, I love to watch shows at this stage, and can’t wait to see how it turns out. To give an idea, this is work in progress for Edinburgh in August 2015! We had a great deal of fun as I am sure the other handful of audience members did and am really glad we caught this.
Next up, the best newcomer award winning show from Edinburgh John Kearns with ‘Sight Gags For Perverts’. For me this was the show I most wanted to see over the whole weekend. I heard the buzz last May and still managed to miss it at Edinburgh so I was very excited as soon as I saw it on the schedule for this weekend. It was a criminal shame though that following a sell-out residency at the Soho theatre, John arrived in Exeter to an audience in single figures. But those of us there will probably never forget this show. With wigs, props false teeth and a bizarre storytelling style with audience interaction, it was a thing of absolutely beauty, disgust, surrealness. The ending almost made Carole cry. And everything, however bizarre managed to fit together. The awards were well deserved. This was the show of the year so far and will take something to beat it.
Finally at the Bike Shed we had John-Luke Roberts – ‘Broken Stand-Up’, another show nominated at Edinburgh – in this case for the Amused Moose Best Show award. We attended the Amused Moose awards and they work by the judges getting to nominate shows who have sent in copies on DVD. The judges then view the final ten live. The finals show lets the audience vote on the shows based on a ten minute snippet to ratify their decision. Thee judges had chosen Al Lubel as the winner but the audience including us chose Danny Ward as winner. This goes to show the flaw in deciding based on a snippet. We had enjoyed John-Luke that day but had him nowhere in the field.
This show is a beautiful mix of surreal ideas seemingly thrown together. But it all works and is all funny. The crowd loved having individual insults thrown at them. Seeing miming false teeth, and every other bit of sublime surrealness inbetween. Alan Bennett in Space is hilarious. If I had seen this show before attending the Amused Moose awards it would definitely have been my winner. I love the way John-Luke is not afraid to take risks and veers from the norm. And long may it last. An absolutely fantastic end to a fantastic weekend at the Bike Shed.
It was not quite over yet, a quick dash up the road for..
‘Mitch Benn is the 37th Beatle’ at the Exeter Phoenix.
To be frank, this show was not really our cup of tea. It was very well researched and Mitch is articulate and clearly a talented musician and skilled orator. But unless you are a fanatical Beatles fan, there is not much else here for you. Certainly little humour.
Anagrams: Mike Wozniak – I Make Oz Wink , John Kearns – Oh Nan Jerks, John-Luke Roberts – Runs Joke Brothel, Mitch Benn – Mint Bench