14th-15th February 2015 – Two days at the Leicester Comedy Festival.

After our wonderful night in Bristol and a great night’s sleep at our Holiday Inn Express, where we’d found we had a bonus breakfast included in the bargain £40 room rate, we got back in the car for the trip to Leicester for two days at the Leicester comedy festival. This was a first for us and only really viable as Carole was on half-term from school.

The journey went smoothly, we arrived at our hotel at 11:15am and found a parking space, which was free for the weekend. Another bonus. A third bonus came when we knew we had enough time to go and pick up an extra show.

Up the road we toddled to the Cookie for our first three shows of the day.

Colin Leggo – Leggoland.

We had seen Colin in Falmouth a couple of weeks before doing a two hour show in front of a packed crowd and were interested to see how his show worked outside of Cornwall.

First thing we found was that there was a very good crowd for this time of day, and secondly that the show had a lot less of the Cornish references, and so it worked for everyone. In fact, I would go as far as to say hat this show was as good as anything we saw all weekend, engaging, funny and presented by a comic with a lot of charm. A great start.

Colin Leggo

Colin Leggo

Upstairs for a little while and then back down again for an old friend of ours.

Paul F Taylor – FDanger is my Middle Name

A very early work in progress show for what will be Paul’s Edinburgh show in 2016. This had us rolling with laughter from start to finish. We love his surreal style. And most of it worked, even at this early stage. We were very happy and chilled out.

Paul FDanger Taylor

Paul FDanger Taylor

Rob Coleman – Ocean Going Idiot

Another really enjoyable show, and not at all what we expected. This was the first run out for Rob’s planned Edinburgh show for this year. A true tale of Rob’s attempt and eventual failure to row across the Atlantic. It was an engaging tale and a departure from his usual pun based style of comedy.

Rob Coleman

Rob Coleman

We bid farewell to the Cookie, for this year, we will be back. And walked down the road to the LCB Depot run by our old chum Bob Slayer for the next three shows.

Charmian Hughes – Raj Rage

More an acting performance than a stand up show, this was the true tale of Charmian’s adventures in India. She played the three characters, a relative in the 1870s, and herself at two points in her life. It was an interesting tale which we thoroughly enjoyed.

We then stayed in the same room for…

Crabula

This was a radio play by local Leicester talent, with a lot of them on a very small stage. A murder mystery crossed with a Guy N Smith novel. It was humorous in parts, but dragged on a bit too long. And suffered from the continual fluffing by the narrator, who also frequently forgot to use the microphone. This started late and finished even later because they had a lot of setup. Most of the crowd were enjoying it, but we were happiest when it finished. And I was constantly distracted by watching the woman the other side of the front row who slept right through it.

And then supposedly a final show in the room for the day…

Tim Fitzhgham – Valentine’s Kama Sutra

We thought this would be the perfect show for Valentine’s Day. An outing of an old show of Tim’s. But there was a long preamble about Tim himself before he got into that which consisted of readings of silly bits of the Kama Sutra. All in all this was a bit of a disappointment which again started late and finished even later.

We were supposed to have had a full hour gap to our next show at the Hansom Hall, but this was diminished greatly by the overrun so we had to grab a quick sandwich on the way to our next show…

Danny Ward – Back In The Bunker

A first workout for Danny’s new show basically all about things that peeve him. By Edinburgh this should be a real hit. It already contains so much hilarity. Definitely the show of the day.

We were supposed to stay in the same room for Comedy Rap Battles but foud out just before Danny’s show that this had been cancelled as they could not find enough comedians to take part. So instead we went back to the LCB Depot to catch most of…

Euroversity Challenge

A mix up meant the teams had changed for this panel show. And because we were not there for the whole thing it is unfair to comment on just how bad it was. Suffice it to say, of the eight comics taking part, three did not say a single word in the forty minutes we were there. To be honest those forty minutes barely generated a chuckle from anyone.

We stayed on for a drink and for

Fool Members Club

This is generally a low key end to an evening, with a few die hard punters enjoying and sharing stories. Tonight this had a very large crowd due to our planned show being cancelled, and Jeff Leach pulling his show at the Kayal down the road even though it would have been sold out. This was ironic, as Jeff and Bob Slayer had been the protagonists in the notorious ‘wankgate’ moment at the 2013 Fringe at which Carole and I were unsuspecting witnesses in the thick of the action. And of course this story was told. This show usually works better with a smaller audience but was good tonight, if not brilliant. The ending with the audience having to escape the room via a Crystal Maze exit was great.

At the end of the day, we felt in two minds. The day had started strongly, had a big lull before being brought up by Danny Ward, before almost petering out completely. We were more disappointed overall and the day didn’t match any of the 27 at the Edinburgh Fringe.

But as they say, tomorrow is another day, and what a cracker it proved to be.

The shows start quite late here on a Sunday, with the first due to start at 2pm. I am used to having done two or three by that stage of a festival day, so it was a bit surreal to have time for a lie-in, a big brunch and time to look around the lovely shops before wandering back to just across the road fom our hotel at the Kayal for four planned and paid for shows.

We got there to meet the lovely guys who run the Nottingham Comedy Festival for another huge bonus, apparently Sunday was a buy one ticket watch as many shows as you like day so we found we were to be refunded three pairs of tickets we had bought.

Kate Smurthwaite – Leftie Cockwomble.

We have seen Kate before and love her strong opinions and honesty. And we were not to be disappointed here. A super start to the day with thought provoking comedy. And Carole winning the most pious audience member award.

We were very chilled out with really comfy chairs at the front and decided that rather than watching the four planned shows, we would just stay here for the day and with the refund to come we could afford a couple of bottles of wine to chill out with.

Our second show was due to be the highly anticipated Jeff: The Accidental Luchador but this had been pulled earlier in the week to be replaced by…

Tony Jameson – Work In Progress.

The first time we had seen Tony but it will not be the last. We loved his laid back relaxed style and the positivity coming through him. A real winner.

Tony Jameson

Tony Jameson

Third up…

Carly Smallman – Made in Penge.

A slightly reworked version of Carly’s 2014 Edinburgh show, we thoroughly enjoyed this from start to finish. We were having a lovely time.

Carly Smallman

Carly Smallman

Next…

Alfie Moore – It’s a Fair Cop – Work In Progress.

This was essentially a read through of scripts for the new series of It’s A Fair Cop, on radio 4. I think what what we saw this was pretty much ready. Lots of laughs and audience interaction. Another great hour.

Penultimately…

Caimh McDonnell – Work In progress.

We have seen Caimh many times and he always delivers. A hilariously funny comic and to us one of the absolute best in the business. Many new bits of material for us here and all of it was terrific. If you have not seen him before,make sure you do.

Finally…

Erich McElroy: Candidate In Progress

It had been 2 1/2 years since we last saw Erich doing a work in progress in Bristol just before the 2012 Fringe. We like him then, we like him even more now. Smart political comedy incorporating some clever multimedia elements.

We had a fantastic day at this venue and will definitely go back. We only wish we had eaten there too as the smell of nice food wafted up to us all day.

We finished our day and our brief sojourn to Leicester with a final visit to to…

Fool Members Club.

A much smaller crowd tonight but the concept often works better that way. Some interesting stories, more cider, and I got to say hi again to the lovely Nicky Wilkinson who was part of the world record in August. Carole also got a vegans revenge by whipping Bob Slayer with a horse whip. A lovely end to a lovely weekend.

Vegans Vengeance

Vegans Vengeance

My favourite show of day two was Caimh, Carole’s was Kate though we thoroughly enjoyed the entire day.

Dave.

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