With the half-term holiday falling late in October, Dave decided to treat us to a weekend in the capital, courtesy of Megabus and Easyhotels, with a bucketful of comedy thrown in for good measure. (Oh ok, the comedy was the a big part of the weekend; there’s a huge menu of choice for us country bumpkins).
Megabus, all fine, Easyhotel, Victoria; the least said the better, but it was a base, nothing else.
We hit London after lunchtime and grabbed some dinner before heading to our pod (sorry, hotel) and via a couple of hours in Camden Market straight over to near King’s Cross where we promptly got lost trying to find The Invisible Dot and The Scary Hallowe’en Show. It didn’t help that half of the area seemed to be undergoing construction and we’d come out of the wrong side of the station. After a bit of walking about and some asking of directions we finally located the club which was still to open to punters.
In to find that we had a small space, full to the gunnels with people sitting on the sides. Ben Target MCing, then Ali Brice (dressed as a scary pumpkin, doing disgusting stuff with a large see through plastic bag full of creamed rice, absolutely hilarious), Sarah Pascoe as Clare the Frog complete with a whole plastic frog head over her own which made it quite hard for her to use the mic (!!), Luke McQueen doing his whole act from offstage, directing via a mic a member of the public to do various things (extremely clever and as the punter was well up for it, it worked really well) and Beth Vyse headlining, dressed grotesquely and suckling a doll baby to her breast whilst she told us a story. The whole thing was inspired and well in the theme for the night.
Back on the Tube and over to Leicester Square for The Comedy Store’s Late Show. Our MC was Ian Moore, a typical old pro who well knew how to get down with the banter and find out about his punters. Maybe a bit too much quizzing of the audience for my taste but they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. Jo Caulfield was our opener. We’ve seen her in Edinburgh and in Calstock (already diarised here) and tonight she was just as good as ever. Lovely observational stuff and a good old vent about stuff that gets up her nose.
Onto Mike Newell; we saw him at the Cleanest Possible show in Edinburgh; hailing from the “north” he has a very easy, relaxed and confident style. Then we had the deliciously dark Carey Marx. What can I say? He delivers his material with a smile which masks the wickedness of his material. He leaves you at the end of each sentence thinking “Hang on a minute – what did he just say and why am I laughing – that is so bad!!??”
Into a break, then we had Carl Donnelly. Another comic who we’ve seen more than once and tonight was no disappointment yet again. Nothing really new in the way of material but lots of his Edinburgh show included here. All good stuff!
I haven’t mentioned that while all this was going on, we’d spotted Stephen K Amos, Rhod Gilbert and up at the back, Al Murray, all just hanging out in the audience and by the bar. Comedians everywhere – and they weren’t even on the bill!
Last up was Prince Abdi, a Somalian with a lot of London material. Huge apologies for not remembering much here; I’d been up since 5.30am and it was now well past midnight!
We came out of The Comedy Store to find the streets heaving with club and fancy dress goers in all states of Hallowe’en dress and drunkenness. Bus stops with huge queues meant not much chance of a ride home and we ended up walking from Leicester Square to Victoria to our hotel, not getting to bed till about 3 am! Yawwwwn!
Out for brunch at Victoria Station the next morning, and then made our way over to The Museum of Comedy on Bloomsbury Way for “Just Like That, The Tommy Cooper Show”, with Tommy being played by the young John Hewer. Presenting Tommy doing his classic stage magic and comedy, John delivers a very well observed performance, messing up, guffawing, shrugging, doing the best gags and leaving the stage in hilarious chaos. Ably assisted by whimsical pianist Christopher Peters; all great fun.
Over to our last comedy of the day, to the Pleasance in Islington for Andy Parsons, giving us some material he was working on for his forthcoming 2015 UK tour (Live, Unleashed – but Naturally Cautious). I was enjoying the show, but the previous late night, warm room and dashing about for the last two days got the better of me and I started to nod slightly; only to wake right up with a little piece of Parsons theatre involving Andy with his trousers around his ankles. I’m not giving away any more than that!
Our Saturday night was to end with one of our other loves, a bit of goth metal, over at The Forum in Kentish Town for Lacuna Coil.
Back to Cornwall leaving at 1pm on the Sunday and two happy, but knackered comedy fans were home by bedtime!