Month: March 2017

Eddie Izzard – Force Majeure : Gig Review 17/03/17

Another day,  another gig. This time it was for Eddie Izzard. A month or so ago I got a tweet from Soho Theatre saying the was doing a  triple header of his Force Majeure show. I’ve not been at the Soho Theatre since seeing Pete Firman (the magician) last year. One I thing I noticed for Pete’s show is that they now do allocated seating at the venue’s theatre room. This is great news as you no longer have the mental queuing starting 15 minutes before the doors open as your tickets have your seat number.

The reason for the triple bill was he was going to perform the show in French, German and English. When I booked the tickets I checked over and over again to make sure I got tickets for the correct show.

 

The tickets I purchased were at the end of a row and when we arrived at our seats there was someone already in them. The conversation went like this.

“Excuse me, I think these are our seats.”
‘Yeah. I want to sit next to my friends and I have an extra ticket so I’m going sit here. You can have my seats.’
(he pointed to two seats in the middle of the row in front).
“No thanks, I think I’d prefer to have the seats I’d purchased.”
‘But I want to sit next to my friends!’
“I understand, but we’d prefer our seats.”

The guy reluctantly left our seats and moved to his seat. I go for end seats as you aren’t as squeezed and I can stretch my legs out in the aisle. Does that make me an arse for not moving? Its not my fault he couldn’t buy seats together. Anyway…this has little to do with Eddie’s show.

There was no fan-fare for Eddie to come out to, the lights dimmed and he walked out from behind the curtain. There was a rapturous applause immediately and the show started.

I remember seeing Eddie Izzard’s first video show and finding him hilarious. By the 3rd one I found his surrealism not to my taste. I still laughed but not as much as the first show. Unfortunately this show felt more like the 3rd show than the 1st.

He had already performed the show twice that evening, in two other languages, and that might have affected the energy her performed with. Some of his ad-libs didn’t hit the spot and occasionally his surrealism lost steam – “I’m a transvestite…..in a ……..skip.” – it felt like he didn’t have the confidence in the ending of the sentence.

I did have a proper chuckle at the death of Caeser, mainly due to the word play with the other characters in the scene. I also enjoyed the act-out of Martin Luther hammering his 95 theses to the church door. This was performed in German and the whole audience understood everything that was happening even if, like me, they didn’t consider German to be a language they spoke. The show started talking about human sacrifice and ended talking about olympic dressage and dressage horse burglars. Very ‘out there’ as a concept but there was much laughing through-out the theatre. The show ended and Eddie added a few words afterwards about staying engaged in politics and not giving up the good fight against those who want see the UK as a protective Island that doesn’t welcome people.

As we left we both were happy to have attended. We enjoyed enough of the show but would not have been happy to have seen something like this in a larger venue (with the larger costs!). I’m happy to have ticked off seeing Eddie Izzard from my list of comedy people to see. When we got home I shared a clip of Eddie’s Cat/Drilling behind sofa and then his DeathStar Canteen scene. These made me laugh LOADS and reminds me that he definitely has written some excellent stuff. I probably wouldn’t watch him again although if he does any warm-ups for a new show at a venue like Soho Theatre then I might buy a tickets, just as long as he hasn’t already done 2 other hour long shows immediately beforehand!

 

Spookywookycocktailhour & Inside the Comedian : Double Bill – Gig Review 27/02/2017

I really enjoyed the comedy impro – Criminal – the other week and when both David Reed & Danielle Ward tweeted they were doing a double-header I had to book tickets. Only a fiver as well! Great value for money.

I’ve not been to The Pheonix since All Day Edinburgh last year. Last time I came for an individual gig was probably a Pappy’s or Do The Right Thing recording. Its a big venue but underground and no wifi, in case that matters to you. Its just up from Oxford Circus (or down from BBC Radio Theatre – if thats a better point of reference)

I arrived with moments to spare and bumped into a couple of my comedy chums. We managed to grab a table right in front of the stage and I look forward to the evening. One of my chums asked if the music playing was Manic Street Preachers but unfortunately my music knowledge is a bit pap so I wasn’t sure.

Danielle took to the stage and explained the show would be in two halves – she would present Spookywookycocktailhour and then there would be an interval and David would be Inside the Comedian during the 2nd half. She also said she’d made producer Ben play the Manics so my chum was right.

Spookywookycocktailhour was in 3 parts. There was a short play, followed by a sketch, then another short play. The rest of the cast joined the stage – Abigail Burgess    & William Andrews.

Short play one involved the re-animation of a lady’s husband. As with all re-animation stories there was an unexpected twist with the recently revived that brought a level of mild peril to the proceedings. Abigail played the wife, William played the Doctor, Danielle the assistant and David played the husband and all were excellent!

The sketch was about twins. One of which was a grumpy french guy.

Short play two, Danielle explained, would be a farce. Who doesn’t like a farce? not me, I love the silliness of them! This play had a guest appearance by everyone’s stereotyped Northern Irish comedian, Michael Legge. It all revolved around an ‘end of life’ care home and a brothel. Who hasn’t made THAT mistake before?

The interval came and went with little fanfair. The 2nd half of the night would be Inside the Comedian. As an enjoyer of comedy podcasts and listened to well over 100 hours of comedians interviewing comedians, I did wonder how niche this would be. Chatting to one of my comedy chums, we weren’t sure if it was going to be a load of back-references to other podcasts/tropes that get repeated indefinately.

David took the stage and after a Parkinson-esque introduction to Michael Legge, the show started. David had a couple of sheets of pre-prepared questions/talking points but the star of this was Michael. Luckily his long career of Improv had him well protected and ready for the challenges that would be put his way. We heard about his Improv troop of 50 people, the Royal Variety performance, who he gets all his jokes from, and the interview ended on a bit of word association. David’s interview character worked really well and there were only a few times when he struggled to stay in character and failed to hold in the laughter caused by some of Michael’s replies. I am sure that there will be some smart editting by the team before this is released as a podcast however it just goes to show you should try to attend these shows in person.

there was a tiny interval and David was joined on stage by Tom Bell. I’ve not seen him before but we worked very well with David on stage. It started with learning about Tom’s time as a boat, the TV shows he’d work on, The Blind Panda comedy venue (in Hove, sadly no longer around) with its unique sunken stage at the bottom of a 90 foot hole with 5 seats at the very top, although one of the seats was on a ‘bungie jump’ type mechanism, Felicity Kendal (two very different sides to her) and ended with Tom reciting parts of the famous characters he has played.

The crowd went on an awesome journey for the night. The two episodes of ‘Inside The Comedian’ would be released as a podcast so you can enjoy them if you weren’t there. Danielle explained at the start of the night that her stuff is more just getting a recording of stuff for prosperity. There is a chance some might appear on Renaissance FM, but if it doesn’t then it will be released online at some point.

Like how the night started, at the end of the night I left as quickly as I arrived. I will get tickets to the next ‘Inside The Comedian’ and I wonder if it will develop further. Would people like something that lampoons the very thing that comedy fans spend months listening to? I was expecting to hear a choice direct quotes from other podcasts and I don’t know whether it was politeness, industry informal rules or it just not being the direction this show is going to take, that they didn’t appear.

I really hope it does make it as a podcast. Even 6 episode (3 nights of recording) would be great output. I do regret not chatting to Ben Walker at the end of the night as I really want to talk to him about how he got involved in the podcast recording business. Interesting to a small handful of people but as I’d be one of them, it wouldn’t be wasted on me.

See you next time, comedy fans. I leave you with some photos from Andy McHaffie. See if you can guess who was Michael Legge in his ‘disguise’!

 

Don’t Look Back Into The Sun….

Seeing as NewsJack has finished for the season, I don’t have anything to submit. Luckily the comments on my blog posts are mostly spam and good for a laugh. Usually I delete them when someone tells me the secret of SEO or suchlike however today I got this one.

 

Never before have I seen this. Just imagine, we don’t need to eat ANY food at all – just stare at the sun. Our eyes contain little things like the top of calculators – with a quarter of an hour blast we can be kept ‘full’ all day.

Now perhaps you may have heard that staring into the sun is dangerous but they have thought of that. Only do it early morning or late evening when God has activated the ‘Nightshift’ mode of the sun.

On the plus side, as well as the weight you could lose, you would also be entitled to a free dog AND a white stick. What is not to love?