THU 02 - Josie Long - All the Planet's Wonders (Seen In Detail)
Ah, Josie Long. Her comedy belongs to the same whimsical, indie-pop style as Daniel Kitson. She's one of my must-see acts, not because her work ishilarious, but because it gives me a warm glow inside.
"All the Planet's Wonders" is about her joy in discovering science. She tells stories about creepy old men on regional tv, Hieronymus Bosch, and visiting the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. And she tells them with a mixture of self-deprecation and child-like wonder. She had a few first-night fumbles when I saw her on Thursday, but she still charmed the audience.
FRI 03 - The Storytellers' Club - "scary" theme
The idea behind the Storytellers' Club is get five or six comedians, musicians and other performers together to tell stories late at night. This year, each night has a theme, and Friday's was "Scary Stories". We heard a UFO story and a horrible date story from the host, Sarah Bennetto. James Dowdeswell talked about his old school friend who turned into a school shooter. We also heard from Maeve Higgins, Alison Bice, Danny McGinlay, Josie Long.
The quality varied from excellent to middling, but to me part of the pleasure of the Storytellers' Club is seeing performers kicking back and doing something less rehearsed than their usual show. And there were a few perfectly timed cracks of thunder to complement the stories.
The roster for upcoming shows is listed on the Storytellers' Club Facebook page.
SAT 04 - Dave Bloustien - The Social Contract
Dave Bloustien was sued last year by a dodgy promoter, and had to prove that he was funny in court. That story forms the backbone of "The Social Contract", but Bloustien diverts off into jokes about working advertising, the economic crisis and the racism by text message. He's written for Good News Week and The Glass House, and his humour is full of that style of clever, political quips. Smart, friendly and funny.
SAT 04 - The Suitcase Royale - Space Show
Like a shambolic Mighty Boosh, only not as pretty.
There was a plot in there, somewhere, about three astronauts (Kevin Bacon, Kerry O'Brien and Chuck Norris, no less) searching the galaxy for a cure to a disease that was ravaging Earth. But the plot was only an excuse for cardboard robots, tinfoil sets, bizarre characters, beachballs doubling as planets, and the occasional musical number.
This was humour as high weirdness. There were a lot of laughs, but I had two problems with this show. Firstly, some the characters felt too much like Mighty Boosh imitations. And secondly, all that surrealism never quite coalesced into a whole.