Since the last post we have been a bit busy with several trips.
First up Jenny Éclair in Falmouth. A very enjoyable sold out show, from a real old hand. Largely female audience, what with the subject material, and they lapped it up (apart from the couple sat next to us, who walked out at the interval}.
The following week started with a film showing of ‘A Field in England’ which starred Reece Shearsmith who was on hand with Johnny Mains to do an introduction and a Q&A afterwards. A chance to meet one of my comedy heroes. The film itself is particularly weird and Marmite, not for us, but the night was overall. Despite the Q&A (over an hour) being totally taken over by Johnny and his pre-prepared questions. He spend a full 45 minutes on this before letting anyone else ask anything.
The following Monday saw a trip to the Bike Shed Theatre in Exeter for Nish Kumar’s Edinburgh Fringe Best Show nominated show. We have followed Nish for a few years now, since meeting at Machynlleth and are big fans. This night was booked way before the Fringe so was left out of the schedule then. Wonderful stuff from a lovely chap.
Two Mondays later and we were back in the same room for Joe Lycett, ably supported by Karen Bayley. There are very few more personable comics doing the rounds at the moment and this crowd loved it from start to finish. We remember seeing Karen for the first time opening a crappy room in Plymouth and really didn’t rate her based on the way that night went. We have seen her twice since and she has been great.
We had a very busy weekend planned with a trip to London for the Megagrotto at the Star of Kings in Kings Cross. It promised a stellar line-up in two rooms of some of the best Edinburgh shows from August. Carole could see a lot of shows she had not seen, and that I had raved about, having gone up to the Fringe on my own. I could also see seven shows I had not seen. So for £20 it seemed a bargain. On the Tuesday before the show two acts were replaced. On the Thursday I sent a message to another act, a friend, to say we would be seeing him. I got a reply which said he had been pulled from the bill. A couple of enquiries later I found that it had been switched to one room due to lack of sales (20 at the time).
This was only announced to the general population around 7pm on the Friday. I had to seriously think whether it was still worth it, and it led to quite a few arguments between myself and Carole (which is a rarity). It left me with only a couple of shows I had not already seen, and the one I was keenest on had been announced for Exeter the day before. Alex the organiser did offer a refund and to cover our Megabus if we did not want to come. But after much dithering we decided to go, mainly so Carole could meet up with her son Matt who has recently moved to the capital.
A 1am Megabus got us to London at just before 7am and we went for breakfast before discovering nothing in London opens before 10am, and spent a couple of cold, wet (it was snowing and sleeting!) hours wandering about. So much for the city that never sleeps!
We arrived for the 12:30 kick off and were then treated to Thom Tuck (doing a show we had both seen the last time it was perform at Machynlleth in May).
Good show though and one of those that is different every time.
Next up Ian Smith, we had not seen him since his 2014 show as part of my world record. We liked him a lot then, and we did again now, though he struggled a bit to remember the show which he had not done since the Fringe.
Next Lou Saunders, another show I had seen. Still it is always lovely to watch this bonkers woman perform.
Next Kieran Hodgson with his Fosters Nominated show, ‘Lance’. A beautiful piece of work and Carole and my favourite of the day by a mile. (Matt’s was Ian Smith)
Next up Phil Wang. Phil is very confident and self assured but has never really grasped me by the throat and made me go ‘wow’. This was getting closer to it for us though.
Ahir Shah followed with a show that entertained and won him at least two new fans. Smart political comedy from a clever and really engaging performer. Our second favourite of the day.
Next up the surreality of Simon Munnery, always one to make you smile, despite often wondering what the hell is going on.
Finally, we had Sarah Franken, but had to leave relatively early into the show as the whole event was seriously behind by then. It was a shame, more for Carole, who had not had the pleasure I had of seeing this in August.
The day as a whole. Scandalous that there were only around 20 paying customers for such great lineup. Maybe London is so saturated by choice, or maybe there aren’t as many real comedy fans out there as you think, reflecting the state in the rest of the country.
Despite this day being among the top picks in several publications, the public did not support it. The room itself is great for comedy, however I was not impressed that it started overrunning almost immediately, there seemed no control at all, and it is probably as well it was condensed into one room as I think there would have been real trouble with synchronising timings if two rooms had been running. Was it worth it overall? For Carole, yes. For me, probably not, as I only got three shows I would have chosen when I booked it. Would we do it again – almost certainly not.
We rushed back to catch the bus home from Victoria, I managed to lose my phone on the bus, we know exactly where it went, but couldn’t get to it!! And Megabus are not being helpful at present with getting it back to me. We arrived home at 6:30am and got to bed!
That evening we were booked to see Fred MacAulay at Calstock. A very pleasant show, but enjoyed more by Carole than myself, largely because he is a fellow Scot. A show full of light hearted whimsy and dry Scottish humour.
December sees us having six things in the schedule. We have already booked our fifteen shows over a Friday-Monday at Leicester in February too.
Carole and Fred