A beautifully sunny evening finds us at Plymouth Albion Rugby Club; not to watch big, muscle bound blokes in shorts kicking/throwing an odd shaped ball around a field (bugger!) but to visit Plymouth Comedy Club’s regular event here (with, as per usual, the same line-up the following evening at Derriford Health and Leisure).
Earlier we had eaten a very nice meal at River Cottage in Prince William Yard – a favourite with me for a special meal as they do their best to fit in with my vegan needs.
Soon enough we were sat at the far end of the front row of the Albion’s marquee, Dave clutching his two pint vat of cider (yes, you read that right) and me with a soft drink.
Chris Brooker, our MC for the night was soon on stage to banter with the audience and right there in the front row was a young man with his girlfriend on one side (who he was just about to move in with) and on his other side, his girlfriend’s mother (who looked young enough to be a sister). This was enough to keep Chris in material until he brought on our first act – the genuinely inimitable Billy Kirkwood.
Hailing from Ayrshire in Scotland, Billy is a Celtic force of nature. Wild of hair, incomprehensible of accent and imprinted with multiple wonderful tattoos, he should be in the movies, such is his affiliation with a good dramatic performance. Billy dances, jokes, tells us about his wife and family, gets the punters up to participate on stage and can lapdance along with the best of them. He was literally buzzing from the moment he came on till the handover back to Chris at the end of his stint and the audience loved him. This was the second time (as far as I know) that Billy had performed for the Plymouth Comedy Club and he can come back any time he likes as far as I’m concerned. Why isn’t this guy famous?
Our next comedian was the very understated Peter Brush. Quiet, dry and with very cleverly written material, Peter covered a multitude of subjects including: ducks. goldfish, his granny and the housing market, time travel and hypochondria. There were some really good callbacks. Dave and I saw him in Liverpool two years ago at Baby Blue and he has come on in leaps and bounds since then, having got to the final of the BBC New Act of the Year (last year). Someone else who should be a lot better known than he is!
Then it was time for our headliner, the wonderful Vikki Stone. Her keyboard had been brought on during the break. Recently seen on the John Bishop Show, Vikki is a musical comedian with a filthy turn of lyric and a penchant for short skirts and sparkly shoes! Tonight’s heels were particularly high and sparkly, and the skirt could have been more accurately termed as “a wide belt” but as long as Vikki was careful with her soft/loud pedal we would be relatively safe re surprise knicker inspection. Vikki isn’t backward in coming forwards when it comes to telling us what she likes and doesn’t like in a man – and size does matter in one of her particularly poignant songs!
Vikki writes comedy songs, plays keyboards and has the voice to belt it all out. It’s all wonderful and all funny. I do have a soft spot for musical comedians – and I’ve read that some people think music is an easy path to comedy, but I’ve been learning the ukulele for the last 18 months or so and let me tell you, there’s nothing easy about trying to learn chords, songs and you need to be able to sing (unfortunately not one of my talents, as Dave will witness), never mind actually writing all of your own material and making it funny.
Vikki is Royal Academy trained and it shows – tonight’s audience were very appreciative – vibrant and made for the stage, come back soon Vikki!