Plymouth Albion Rugby Club is a new venue for the first night of Plymouth Comedy Club’s two night event, which up till recently has been at City Bus Social Club on the Friday. The Saturday event will be staying at Derriford Health and Leisure a bit further north of the city. The line-up is the same on both nights and discounts are available at two local eateries for people with comedy tickets – you always get a good deal with these guys!
Owing to Dave having just had his tonsillectomy the day before and being at home under an enforced recovery period, I also had a different comedy partner for the night – my good friend Marie Lawrence, part owner of Oaktree Cattery in Liskeard. Marie had previously accompanied me to see Tony Hawks in Calstock back in January when Dave was poorly with his tonsillitis and is always well up for a bit of comedic nonsense.
Marie and I arrived around 7.45pm (comedy was starting at 8.30pm) and after marvelling at the two pint plastic “vases” that were being used for cider and beer, got ourselves a drink and settled safely at one end of the second row.
Our MC for the night, as always at PCC gigs, was Chris Brooker, “ginger Viking”, and as he announced himself (voice of God) and bounded onstage from the aisle at the side of the audience a lady in the middle of the front row began to giggle uncontrollably, much to everyone and Chris’s bemusement. Chris queried her mirth, given that he hadn’t done anymore than jump onto the small platform, only to be given the ambiguous reply: “I wasn’t expecting THAT!” Chris, with his long ginger hair pulled back in a ponytail, ginger beard and Viking build, looked suitably confused…was he so VERY strange looking? It took another minute or so of general hilarity before he elicited that Bev, as she was called, hadn’t expected him to come from the audience “I thought you were going to come through the curtain at the back!!” As it’s a one piece backdrop pinned up against a solid wall, as Chris demonstrated, this would hardly have been likely. Her friend explained that Bev “worked with people with dementia”…this seemed to explain things somewhat. Later in the ladies during the first interval, we overheard her asking her friends if there was a magic act on next. Enough said.
Anyway, I digress. Chris went on to perform his wonderful MC/warm-up act as excellently as usual, having been given a flying start by the barmy but lovely Bev, and soon enough brought on our opener Jim Smallman. It’s interesting to me to see how other people react to acts we’ve seen before and liked, so I was curious to see how Marie would enjoy Jim’s material and then Harriet’s. I hadn’t seen Jim since a gig at Plymouth Uni at least two years ago. A few bits of his material were familiar but he also had some new bits including a joke his daughter wrote at just six years old and his parenting style (“monstrous”) Also the news that he has remarried … nothing will be repeated here about his ex-wife for fear of legal repercussions! Jim has a very confident observational style, although professing to be scared of the front row when he first came on stage. A really nice guy and well able to cope with the 230+ crowd we had at the club. Marie, who had been laughing throughout, said she’d really liked him too.
Our first break, quick refreshment, and back for a bit more from our magnificent MC Chris, then onto our second act; I had pre-warned Marie that Harriet was barking mad so she was well warned about any lunacy about to erupt from the stage. Harriet, sounding more West Country than ever, despite living “up country” now, gave us familiar (at least to me) stories of her antics with drugs, observations on her gawkiness and similarity to Daddy-Long-Legs “my mum used to have to put a glass over me to get me out of the house” and a long ago sexual liaison with a East Enders star (or did she??) There was far too much physical stuff and zany lines for me to remember or repeat so I’m just going to say that it was all marvellously mental. Marie was laughing during much of this and said later that she’d really enjoyed her act. Harriet’s act is like no other. She has an Edinburgh show coming up “Barking at Aeroplanes”. Catch her if you can!!
Into the second interval, a few more lines from Chris and then onto our headliner, Paddy Lennox.
With a lovely soft Irish accent, Paddy was a new act to me and, although I was slightly unsure at first, as he moved into his material and got warmed up, he had lots of good stuff to impart. Not afraid to interact with the audience, he had several words for the front row, and when he moved into his re-enactions of middle class accents, poking fun at the audience “Who’s middle class here? Put your hands up.” Looking at the section of unfortunates who had volunteered to confess to being middle class: “You’re not! Middle class people would never put their hands up! You’ve failed the first test!!” Marie and I, who had kept our arms firmly by our sides, were cracking up.
Paddy also does a lovely piece on middle class ladies in Waitrose doing their pelvic floor exercises…the women in the audience were loving it.
More material on the differences between cats and dogs had Marie’s attention especially, (being a cattery owner) and then not afraid to get a bit of physicality into the act, Paddy did a fairly good impression of cat’s contempt for its owners and of a dog dragging its rear across the stage, causing the punters to be in total uproar.
In an attempt to breathe fresh air into his 14 year old marriage’s lovelife Paddy also does very good attempted “helicopter” impressions but I’m saying no more on that, you’ll have to go see him for yourself. Safe to say he was a tip top headliner and I’d certainly like to see him again.
The next Plymouth Comedy Club gig is going to be one of their occasional specials at The Holiday Inn on Plymouth Hoe on 18th July. Reserved seats are bookable now. Get on board!