A very busy end of the year with some real treats.
28th November saw us going up to Ivybridge Watermark for a delightful night with one of comedy’s fastest rising stars in Rob Beckett. His cheeky charm captivated everyone. And a lovely touch in him shaking everyone’s hand on the way out and thanking them for coming. His attitude reminds us a lot of Larry Dean and we hope Larry will reach the same heights soon.
9th December saw me (Dave) make a solo journey back to the same venue for Phill Jupitus. The show was split into two halves, with the first being his performance poetry (something I am sure Carole would have enjoyed as much as I did), and the second being more traditional stand-up. It was a fantastic show, but somewhat spoilt by an incredibly annoying woman in the front row who thought it was all about her and interrupted at every opportunity.
Eventually Phill lost patience and told her to fuck off and offered to refund her ticket money. The momentum and flow of the show was sadly interrupted too many times. At the end Phill was so upset that he stayed out the back until everyone else had left, but fortunately the lovely manager Jonathan let me see him to get a signature in ‘Dead Funny’. This is one of our favourite venues, but does seem to attract more than its fair share of idiots.
Talking of favourite venues, 11th December saw us making the trip to Calstock Arts for Mark Thomas – Trespass. As always, we had a great time at this show, both funny and thought provoking. A man who will always be a certain buy for us. Trivia: we watched a DVD of Mark a couple of days before this gig in which he set a World Record (now broken). When I dug on the Internet for more info on this I found Mark has exactly the same birthday as me (11/04/1963).
The following day was our fifth wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a trip to Bridport for a very eclectic show at the Electric Palace. The lineup was a classic mix of old variety with the very new standup of a local star Tom Glover.
The Dr Funk disco entertained us in breaks and before the show and local legend Bentley brought on brilliant act after brilliant act. No standard all stand-up comedy here: Dave Thompson, Voltini, Tom Glover, Brian Damage and Krysstal Clear, Martin Soan and Woody Bop Muddy. And to end it all a ‘Greatest Show on Legs’ comprising original member Martin along with Dave Thompson and Bentley doing the famous naked balloon dance. Anarchy but amazing fun and how we wish we could see more nights like this.
We were feeling pretty tired after a lot of travelling and late nights and nearly decided to forgo our next trip, a long one up to Tiverton on a Monday for Tom Binns. But we are very glad we did it as we were treated to a three section show with Tom doing his Ian D. Montfort clairvoyant act followed by a new ventriloquist act, done under his own name, and in acknowledgement to the greats of music hall ventriloquism. Last of all, his most famous Ivan Brackenberry hospital radio DJ character. Wonderful stuff, and we had the bonus Kevin Shepherd holding the show together between the segments.
The 28th saw a little trip into Plymouth for local company (Exeter based, but their programme told us that they actually met whilst all at Plymouth School of the Arts) La Navet Bete and Robin Hood. Another wonderful romp from the boys playing a variety of characters. They never fail to disappoint.
The 29th saw a final big trip of the year for our final three shows. Up at 5am for an early Megabus from Plymouth to London and then a bus to Battersea saw us set for Sleeping Trees – Cinderella and the Beanstalk.
I first saw these wonderful lads doing Treasure Island during the World Record in 2014. I had raved about them since until Carole finally got to see them doing Western in Exeter this year. I also go to see the wonderful Mafia at the Fringe this year and now their take on the Panto. With the three of them (along with accompanist Mark) playing dozens of characters, it was a wonderfully dizzy romp. And I even got to marry together Cinderella and Prince Charming at the end.
A quick trip up to Soho, a bite to eat, a brief word with Sam Simmons who we bumped into outside the venue, The Soho Theatre, and then into Kim Noble – We Are Not Alone. A quite magnificent piece showing one man’s obsessions and attempts to connect with people. Utterly unique and at turns both repulsive and beautiful. And Carole got to have a little dance on stage.
Staying where we were at the Soho Theatre for our final show of the year, Foster’s Best Newcomer winner Sofie Hagen – Bubblewrap. A sold out crowd, including Stewart Lee and Bridget Christie, were treated to this clever (and true) tale of Westlife, obsession and body image. A fabulous end to another wonderful year of comedy – 230 shows and barely a dud amongst them all.
Here is a picture of Sofie Hagen the chicken enjoying Christmas to end the year.