Comedy Reviews


Worried about AI taking over the world? Relax, Ian Crawford gives us one less thing to worry about in this dangerous modern world; two if you count cutlery. No computer or artificial intelligence could ever come up with a daft surreal and funny show such as this.

Ian draws us into a deep pit of irony about so-called 'safe' cutlery ('Don't be a loon, watch that spoon') with a deadpan delivery familiar to anyone who has sat through corporate safety videos and briefings.

His PowerPoint (of course) presentation highlighted real and imagined danger with vivid (if re-created) images of cutlery related accidents. Like Corporate briefings he uses many slogans to ram the message home, ('Don't be a nutter, use a knife to spread butter’). This resonated, possibly unintentionally, with the governments recent catch phrases during COVID: “Hands, Face, Space’’, “Stay Home, Stay Alert, Save Lives”, and “Take care with that knife, it could take a life”. The last one was Ian’s; he gets the tone spot on, as does the whole show.

We learned during our safety training that Chopsticks are not a safe substitute for knife, fork and spoon, and that cutlery incidents are mainly fork related east of a line drawn from the Isle of Skye to Wolverhampton. Also, don’t be comforted by pictures of cute baby Polar Bears – they can devour you with a single bite. “Stay alert, stay safe”.

The humour is largely derived from Ian’s personality as half-schoolteacher, half Health and Safety officer, and he builds a warm rapport with the audience even when testing us with a final exam. His closing sing-along rap song wound up his show, or Safety Briefing as he would call it, and he finished with a commercial for a three day retreat of “Forkfulness” to which you could possibly sign up for – if you are worried enough.

The full house audience left the Old Club House venue, wiser and hopefully more cutlery safe than ever before.

Brian Kirman

IMPROMPTU SHAKESPEARE - Impromptu Shakespeare Improv Company

We were warned – “Hold onto your doublets, ruffs and trunk hose!” – and gosh they weren’t wrong! This was an improv show done in the style of the Bard himself. There’s plenty of fun from the off as the audience is encouraged to gamely throw balls into moving hose. The balls have situations and themes written on them and are randomly selected by the audience before the show begins so the players have only a basic inkling as to what will emerge from this lucky dip.

So, the scene is set for an energetic romp with characters and situations ably portrayed by our cast – Tom, Ailis and Tom. I can’t separate them for individual praise as it is a fantastic team effort! Each played off the others and with only a couple of minor missteps the show on the whole is peppered with glorious moments and laughs aplenty. I loved it and so did the rest of the audience, and this is the best comedy I’ve seen at this year’s Fringe. Don’t take my word for it, they’re at it again on Saturday night – grab yourself a ticket to fun!

Ian Parker Heath


This year’s show from Alex Kealy was supposed to be about Monopolies, says so in the title. However, it was mostly about, you guessed it, the pandemic. To be fair it has been a big event in all our lives and it’s no surprise that it has dominated this year’s Fringe in general and this show in particular.

Much of his set was about the impact of lockdowns on life and love, and this entertained the audience who had experienced pretty much all the same things. The show rolled along with a number of ‘set pieces’ and eventually we did have something on Google, Silicon Valley and advertising. It wasn’t a lot, and he finished strongly with a nice line on quantum mechanics, black holes and the storyline of the blockbuster Interstellar.

That said, there was a lot of ring-rust evident and he constantly referred to notes and made comments about whether the jokes worked or not. Most of the audience seemed ok with this and laughed along with him. It was more of a work-in-progress show with an ending which was known to work well.

Hopefully this outing has given him a boost in performing with an audience again after all that time away and his next show will benefit from this.

Ian Parker Heath


Steve Vertigo takes a simple conceit – have a human become a bird. Not just any bird, but a Starling, and have them join a murmuration. The ask yourself some questions, such as what would it be like? What is a murmuration? How do they do that? What is the social life of the average Starling? AI or not AI? Which AI? This is the show.

Murmuration takes you on a trip through this avian world, into the human world and back again. There are some thoughtful moments in there and a fair few amusing ones which made the audience chortle. It’s not one of those riotous, laugh-out-loud audience participation shows, just the occasional question directed our way is the full extent of this. Your guide is relaxed and confident, knowledgeable about this odd, somewhat surreal world, and you find yourself drawn into it. You may well be surprised by some of the behaviour these birds are capable of, and how much of this takes place before your eyes!

It’s a pleasant way to ease yourself into an evening of Fringe shows and Murmuration takes to the air again on the 23rd and 25th.

Ian Parker Heath


It had to happen. In a festival hindered by Covid and some shows declaring a COVID free zone (meaning that they weren’t going to mention it not, alas, that COVID had gone away.). We have Steve Verigo’s take on the news where the pandemic features strongly.

If satire feeds on confusion and the lack of coordination of government then the present day is fertile ground indeed. Steve begins with Sajid Javid’s visit to a care home where he mixed with residents but didn’t wear a mask so they could hear him more clearly telling them that everything was fine. Oh, and what a co-incidence that both our PM and Chancellor had been chosen at random to take part in a scheme whereby they didn’t need to isolate. What were the chances? Robert Jenrick was the next in line of fire as he attempted to justify the PM and Chancellor and then was completely undermined three hours later by Boris’s latest U turn.

Priti Patel doesn’t escape ridicule, how could she after breaking the ministerial code twice, making it illegal to rescue people drowning in the channel, making it illegal to protest if it annoys anyone and making it illegal to criticise the government. I exaggerated one of those but not by much.

In the interest of balance Steve Vertigo also takes a pop at Kier Starmer, but with the easy target of our government of “incompetent buffoons” (quote from Dominic Cummins, et al) there is not much to delay him.

The show is enhanced by many video clips of Steve in various disguises which on the whole work well though some references were missed by the audience – ‘Top Boys’ Movie anyone? – but his characters keep the attention: the bird painter for example and the musician. I wish he hadn’t finished with Matt Hancock – some things are beyond satire.

One more performance on 24th July.

Brian Kirman

WHINE, WOMEN AND THONG - I'll Have What She's Having Productions

WHINE, WOMEN AND THONG - I'll Have What She's Having Productions (Green Man Gallery – Venue 86).

It isn’t every day we get an all-woman comedy show like this, and given that it was a sell-out, it seems there’s an appetite for it here in Buxton. What we got was a ‘best of’ collection of sketches, vignettes and well, almost poetry. Once everyone had settled in, we had a treat for the next hour.

The five strong collective have been working together for around three years and have clearly become comfortable with each other and the material they all helped write. What they have produced is a range of snapshots into the life of women today which even men can recognise! They are by turn sneaky and underhand, poignant, bittersweet, sad, outrageous, funny and laudable.

Each ‘episode’ takes you in a different direction, from a casting call to the problems of finding comfy knickers, class distinction and snobbery to missing a dead parent. There is a view from both sides of ‘the affair’ and some crazy woman in a balaclava shouts at you, and for me the highlight - a vision of the future of healthcare for the elderly which may not be too wide of the mark.

Everyone involved was on the ball and the show moved seamlessly between the stories. There’s nothing not to like about this show. I loved it. The audience agreed with me, giving all concerned a great, well-earned ovation at the end.

Do yourself a favour and come and see this show which is on again on the 22nd (Thurs) at the same venue.

Ian Parker Heath


I have very strong memories of watching the film, She – Hammer Horror’s foray into derring-do adventure – on TV one Saturday afternoon in the 70s. It featured the reassuring presence of Bernard Cribbins amongst the cast, as well as Peter Cushing and the impossibly glamorous Ursula Andress. It made quite an impression.

Not as much of an impression as it made on the 8-year-old Charmian Hughes when her teenage sister took her on an illicit cinema trip to see it. It made such an impression that she has based her latest comedy show around it.

The plot of She revolves around a virtually immortal queen (She Who Must Be Obeyed) who has spent the last 2000 years searching for the reincarnation of her lost love. Charmian uses this as the jumping-off point to talk about looking up ex-boyfriends, having a younger husband (only 8 years, not 2000, but still …) and feeling a connection with the Colossal Squid she encountered in a New Zealand museum.

Charmian’s show is full of nice detail for anyone of a certain age (such as duvets being referred to as ‘continental quilts’), the jokes and anecdotes come thick and fast and she has a good rapport with her audience. She also, gamely in the heat of a Buxton summer, wears two dresses simultaneously – something even the all-powerful She might not have the courage to attempt.

Robbie Carnegie

HER PS AND QS - Tell Tale Tits

Queenie has a problem – an overfriendly, over-clingy friend named Penelope. They met a couple of years ago, and now Queenie just can’t get rid of Penelope. Onstage and off, Penelope is there, wrapped around Queenie, climbing on her back, playing a ukulele with her, illustrating her stories. Always there.

This is the set-up for Her Ps and Qs, a joyful, playful, physical, musical, educational (yes) and funny piece of cabaret theatre. TellTale Tits (Charlotte Warner and Lexi Bradburn) are a brilliant double-act, completely in synch and spinning a world in which the personal and the comedic become one. They have a goofy, acrobatic physicality, a clowning sense of fun, and a musical and verbal dexterity which turns material that could be distasteful into something uplifting, hopeful and heartwarming. And very funny.

In many respects it is a show that is hard to define, as it revolves around a twist midway through which I won’t reveal. However, I would heartily recommend a show which even on a hot evening sent its audience home with a spring in its step and whistling a reworded rendition of ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’.

Robbie Carnegie

QUESTIONS OF ENGLAND - The Institute of Managing Performance

The format of this show is a trivia quiz which has the subject of ‘England’. A question-master threw questions out and the two comedians picked up the ones that took their fancy with short improvised sketches. If they weren’t inspired then the audience was asked to give answers – a perfect opportunity for quiz buffs. What are the five towns of Arnold Bennet? And were there actually six? Does Birmingham really have more canals than Venice and where does the London Marathon begin?

Slightly disappointingly the quiz master only had the questions; no answers, and so if no one could answer (audience or crew) then we moved on, in our ignorance, to the next.

Like all improvised shows the sketches were hit and miss but the best were those with a short sharp wit rather than the drawn out scenarios sometimes developed by the performers. Its easy to understand that in making up a scene the performers hang on to the idea hoping that it will lead them to new and funny ideas, but in this quiz format short and sharp was the way. A few running gags were set up and these recurred quite effectively through the show.

The hour glass emptied and we went our ways humming the scenery.

A further show is on Monday 19th July when there will be a change of crew, new questions and a wholly different experience.

Brian Kirman

IT JUST SO HAPPENED - Mirth of Forth productions

It Just So Happened is a comedy panel show hosted by Richard Pulsford which investigates what happened on this day in history. He is joined by three other comedians on the panel, each of whom addresses a particular historical event from the 17th July down through the years, interspersed with further questions.

Kevin Hudson, apparently Leicester’s favourite poet-comedian-accountant ruminated on how George V changed the Royal family’s name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1917 three years into the war, perhaps he’d been keeping his options open? Also visiting from Leicester, Ishy Khan focussed on the 1975 friendly handshake between Russia and the USA in space, mused on what billionaires Musk and Bezos are compensating for in their race to build thrusting great rockets, and an entirely new explanation for how the Cricket was snowed off in Buxton in 1975.

The highlight was Fringe regular Gerard Harris’s fulminating about World Emoji Day, moving from peppering his rant with emoji descriptions, to biting satire on Apple’s collaboration with oppressive regimes, and on to questions such as, why is the poo emoji always happy? and the risks taken in using emojis to refer to Moussaka and Peach Cobbler.

Pulsford is a charming host and we finished with some little known facts about Buxton and it’s German twin Bad Nauheim, and a lovely tribute to Buxton’s Tim Brooke-Taylor who would have been 81 on the day. Luckily for you it’s all been recorded for Richard’s podcast, so look out for It Just So Happened online!

Stephen Walker


Comedian Nathan Cassidy has been coming to Buxton Fringe for many years (71 he claims) has built up something of a following, particularly following his heroic appearance in 2020 where he was the only performer to bring a live show under extreme lockdown conditions.

This year he returns with his latest stand-up show, Bumblebee. Inspired by an incident during lockdown when he was burgled while out for his hour’s exercise, Cassidy uses this as a jumping-off point on various subjects. He touches on Netflix, true-crime documentaries, the police, loss of morals and Tiger King.

His act is well rehearsed and slick and Cassidy performs with great confidence, but not all of his jokes hit their targets. There is no doubt it must be hard for a comedian, even one as experienced as Nathan Cassidy, to read the room when those in it are masked, especially when everyone is also extremely hot. It’s true to say that no subject should be out of bounds in comedy, but maybe it’s too soon to be complaining about the public’s compliance with Covid rules when your audience are still trying (for the most part) to adhere to them.

Nathan Cassidy is at his best when he talks about his teenage home life (nice allusions to the 80s fad for bead curtains instead of doors) and his relationship with his mother and stepfather. It is here that the show builds to a satisfying emotional punch that justifies all that has gone before.

Robbie Carnegie


There's a reason tonight's show was sold out. Rob Rouse is memorable, talented and intense (in the best way possible)!

The fact it was on the evening of a 28 degrees day in sunny Buxton in the (boiling) Underground at the Old Clubhouse venue, in a room of 33 of us all in masks did not stop us all uncontrollably laughing along with Rob's absurdity! I think all of us felt very honoured to be the first audience he had performed this show on stage to, as each part was so relatable, light-hearted and cleverly put together.

Personally, I just loved how much he encouraged us to lower our expectations, and not to take the show (or life for that matter) so seriously. Rob gave us an insight into his life in lockdown over the past 15 months with the joys of home-schooling, tips for spicing up boring zoom calls and how he spent the best part of the first lockdown sat in a paddling pool in his front garden explaining himself to delivery drivers (who were probably delivering all of the props used throughout the show)!

The show is filled with silly characters each interwoven into his jokes and stories, which were all skilfully thought through with the audience in mind. If you are in the mood for a good laugh, I would highly recommend Rob's show on the 20th and 21st July 8:30- 9:30pm at Underground at the Old Clubhouse.

I'd get my hand on a ticket soon if I were you, before it gets sold out... again. Oh, and remember, they'll be no refunds!

Alice Featherstone


DIRTY SCRABBLE: THE ULTIMATE LATE NIGHT COMEDY GAMESHOW - Hosted by Rob Rouse - Rob Rouse / Underground (Underground at the Old Clubhouse – Venue 21)

Sometimes things are clear, not needing interpretation or contextualisation. Tonight’s show was one of those. Dirty Scrabble was exactly what it sounded like it was going be – a beloved board game with a focus on the rude, the sly and the innuendo. Oh, who am I kidding. Think Countdown meets Irving Welsh and you’re getting there.

Our host claimed he was surprised that people actually turned up as he was ‘taking a punt’ with this idea of a ‘gameshow’, but with an almost full house in attendance there was clearly an appetite for late Friday night fun! And much fun was had.

Our host/compere/player was ably assisted by fellow Fringe performers Bignell & Andrews and Gerard Harris who were also clearly up for a laugh or two. Indeed, Rob often had to take a back-seat to his guests as they outscored him on the board of mirth.

You might wonder how it worked. Well, naughty words were encouraged, nay demanded, and the rest they say is history. There was a single overhead camera showing the audience the board and the wordplay unfolding. It worked fine for the most part, but perhaps the players could have laid their tiles down or more cameras would have helped more of the audience see what our celebrity players were holding (oh dear).

There was much laughter both on and off the stage and everybody had a good time. What more do you want from a comedy show? Sadly, this was a one-off show so you’ve missed your chance for this year. Unless you have Scrabble at home…

Ian Parker Heath

BIGNELL & ANDREWS DO A FRINGE! - Sweet Productions

It may not be everyone’s choice to leave the bright sunshine of Buxton’s best day of the year to sit in a darkened room for an unknown comedy show, but as the two young women, Judy Bignall and Heather Andrews, took to the stage with a song, “Let’s Make a Sex Tape” we thought, ‘maybe this will be good’.

The duo went on to perform sketches and songs on a multitude of topics. There were running gags too; notably assessing the flavours and associations of cocktails. “Sex on the beach” was the first with flavours of salt, orange, remorse, sand in the pants, and a trip to the clinic. Others followed at intervals during the show. And there were the garden gnomes...

With a multitude of sketches crammed into the hour some were naturally better than others notably: the inner dialogue of a woman being massaged - ‘should I chat? ‘what do I need from Tesco’s?’ ‘she’s pushing my fat around’, and all the random uncontrolled thoughts while being manipulated and pummelled. Another sketch that hit the mark was about late night eating, food cravings after a night drinking at the pub. So, if you didn’t like one sketch then another would be along in just a minute. There was also a (male) voice-over which covered the gaps as the girls changed props but this didn’t connect for me. The songs were the strength of their act and formed a backbone from which the sketches were interspersed.

It is good to see young females taking on comedy at Buxton – which is often dominated by male stand-ups - and Bignell and Andrews finished with a high energy Les Miserables finale before we left into the fading afternoon sunshine.

One more show on 17th July.

Brian Kirman

GERARD HARRIS: BANNED IN THE USA - That's Enough Drama / Gerard Harris

Of course, anything which the USA forbids is bound to attract attention and this show’s title promised much. What is it that was banned? Turns out it was the star of the show.

After a gentle, low-key introduction we were whisked off on a whistle-stop tour of Gerard’s ‘comedy career’ via a number of stressful encounters with airline staff, NGOs, Border guards and student doctors. Figures of authority loom large, because you just know they’re such frustrating figures of fun aren’t they?

Our journey took us from Montreal to New Hampshire and back, Ireland, Rio and more. Each stop on the tour took us to a pivotal experience in Gerard’s career as comedian and sometime actor in murder mysteries with no script, plot or idea what was going on. I’m pretty sure that some of us have ‘dealings’ with bureaucracy similar to some of those regaled by Gerard, but haven’t included making a country among them. Thereby hangs a tale…or two.

Gerard whisks the audience along engagingly and is at ease on the stage, despite having time away for pandemic reasons. The audience loved it and looked glued to his every word, with the allotted time for the show zipping by.

There was a little glitch in the storytelling, which to be honest just seemed like one of those things you get in Fringe show, but it bugged Gerard. So much so that he literally dashed from one bar (leaving his wife AND beer) to the venue to explain what happened in the story and smooth over the storyline for me. That, ladies and gentleman, is dedication.

You can catch two more shows on the 16th and 18th at the same venue. They’ll be a glitch-free.

Ian Parker Heath

HIM INDOORS - Cheekykita Presents

I personally feel that the word surreal has become somewhat over-used in recent times. It often seems to be the default adjective to describe any experience that is just a bit strange or unusual. However, this show is definitely full-on surreal. At the risk of spoilers, if singing cat puppets, invisible demon eels or people being chased by malevolent clouds is your type of thing, then you need to head for this show.

Within the confines of the Clubhouse special effects have to be delivered, shall we say, in a rather basic manner, which of course all adds to the fun of the show. Lots of cardboard and papier mache is in evidence. At the centre of the plot is an intrepid investigative journalist played admirably straight by the male cast member. His two female colleagues play a bewildering crew of comedy characters as well as doubling up as scenery at times (did I mention malevolent clouds?).

The show describes itself as Mighty Boosh meets the Wicker Man, though there are loads of other cultural references in play; some of the fun is spotting them as they go by. And yes, the show is fun. And very silly. If you fancy having a smile on your face for 45 minutes and long after, then this is the place to go.

Fred Rolland

GERARD HARRIS: WANK IN PROGRESS - That's Enough Drama / Gerard Harris

How do you feel about shows with ‘Wank’ in the title? We have had a couple in Buxton. Are they irresistible or a complete put-off?

The only certainty is that the show will be speculative and unpredictable and Gerard Harris doesn’t disappoint on that front.

He has an engaging stage presence which draws in the audience and while this isn’t an audience participation show, he does encourage feedback and, apparently, notes it down for future use.

Gerard has a peculiar, self-deprecating style which while creating empathy doesn’t hide his stage confidence. Thus he is able to talk down his own show and his jokes while at the same time projecting himself with huge confidence. The audience quickly warmed to him, but the jokes, it has to be said, were hit and miss – a bit sub-Les Dawson. However the hour passed very quickly.

Gerard is a great story teller, which is just as well as he also has another fringe show which is more story, less stand-up.

As for the title: as he says, ‘it is more “Work in Progress”'.

Further shows: 17th, 18th July

Brian Kirman


Oversharing. Hadn’t heard the term before, but from Zoe Bury’s introduction I recognised it immediately. You all probably know someone who does it – you get their life story within minutes of meeting them for the first time. Zoe’s one of those.

Don’t let this put you off, it’s the springboard for her comedy, which like much of the genre takes its cue from real life, and combined with parenthood, what you get is a smorgasbord of situations you can empathise with, and it is this which gives this show a grounding in self-deprecation.

From Zoe’s background we hear about life with children, snooty acquaintances and expensive cafes where Poundland bags are something of a social faux-pas. These are tales from motherhood; warm, gentle and humorous rather than laugh out loud funny. One exception is the swing scenario. Work also gets a look-in, especially when you combine visual impairment and nursing…

Although relatively new to stand-up, we got an assured and relaxed performance from an artist who is comfortable with her work. Zoe took the audience along with her and they thoroughly enjoyed the journey, rewarding Zoe with a grand ovation at the end. Do yourself a favour and get along and see one of her shows as she returns on the 16th, 19th & 21st.

Ian Parker Heath

CAST VS CREW - Foolish Bandits

There’s always room at the Buxton Fringe for a late-night improv comedy show, and Cast vs Crew by Foolish Bandits fills that role nicely this year.

The concept definitely has legs. Three performers, Josh, Joe and Matt, ask the audience to come up with a well known fairy story (in this case, Pinocchio) and, having ascertained the plot points of the story, set about representing it on stage. However, the progress of the story is influenced by the show’s tech crew who, with the addition of amusing props, costume, lights and sound, can completely change the direction of the plot. So, for example in the first show, Pinocchio is carved by his father using a lightsaber, and was half boy-half shark.

The three performers take the whole thing with almost manic energy, gleefully jumping on to whatever tech bandwagon happens past. As ever in improv, not all the comedy hits the mark, and on occasion the story disappears down less funny cul-de-sacs. This is where the sensitivity of the crew comes in, skillfully resetting the action and forcing them to abandon a particular path and try something else when the need arises. Far from hindering the performance, they often save it.

The whole thing is an exuberant, playful 45 minutes, and pure, silly fun that keeps the gags coming for its run. We can all do with a laugh and this certainly provided it.

Robbie Carnegie


Fringe favourite Mike Raffone returns to town with another hour of chaotic fun! If you’ve seen Mike before, you know just what to expect. If you haven’t, here goes.

Audience participation is the name of the game. If you don’t fancy joining in, are shy and introverted, or can’t face feeling foolish – then stay away. Last night, everyone was game, and the game was the usual mayhem. Escapology, litter bin hoops and a sing-a-long lip-sync all get the show moving along at a brisk pace and before you know it its done.

Mike was ably assisted by the lovely Charlita, mistress of the props and sterilizer, who after all added glamour to the show. Add to that, prizes to die for and a surreal guest spot from Cheekykita the madness arrives a climax where Bruce Forsyth actually gets namechecked.

Late-night Friday fun. Probably the best way to get through last orders!

The show returns on the 17th & 18th and you’d do well to see it.

Ian Parker Heath


Many Fringe shows are about FUN and Miss Angela Bra – Andy Quirke’s alter-ego – certainly bring us that if the audience last night was anything to go by! It was a full house and from the start they got on like a house on fire and everybody had a good time.

The show is a series of songs showcasing just what a part-time primary school music teacher can achieve, even under lockdown. It is the lockdown and its effects on us all that informs many of the songs, but there are also those everyday issues like cooking for one, how to find the right man and mothers – what can you do about them? – that also filter through. So what do you get?

You will GASP at the terrible puns.

Be AMAZED by the prize you can win.

And WONDER how you can dance in your chair with COVID restrictions in place.

Audience participation is a must and all duly obliged, with spontaneous wit and humour evident of both sides. I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t like the show.

Miss Angela is back on the 15th of July and has a different show (ANNIE AND ANGELA'S DISCO DIVORCE PARTY) with her long-time friend Annie on the 11th & 15th July. That should be fun too!

Ian Parker Heath

BARREL OF LAUGHS - Underground

Over the past few years when I've been organising which Fringe events I'd like to go to ( important to plan because unfortunately you can't be in two places at once), a crucial show on my list is always the Barrel of Laughs comedy night. It is guaranteed to be unpredictable, often spontaneous and the magic is you don't know what you're going to get!

The brilliant compere/ straight jacket helper (don't ask!) Tom brought us right back in, of course a Covid secure way (don't forget to sanitise the mic, oh and no singing or dancing in the audience please!) to live comedy because, oh how it was missed, it's really not the same online.

The comedy on offer is often by performers in the festival, so you're able to get a taste of their performance before inevitably wanting to watch more in their shows. It is a lucky dip of laughter, with each performer varied and different to the last - making the night a little something for everyone. The four comics we had the joy of letting our hair down with last night were Dylan Howells, Cheekykita, Dom Hutchins and Mike Raffone.

This must- watch night of comedy takes place over three Friday nights of the festival with the next two on the 16th and 23rd July 8:30- 10pm at the Underground at The Old Clubhouse!

Alice Featherstone


Have you ever thought about the beauty of poetry? How it can express all of human emotion? How even the darkest of circumstances can produce heart-warming, uplifting prose? So has Andy Gilbert, but clearly not in the same way. Andy takes his lead from the great romantic poets and wants to help us achieve those artistic heights and the result is a show which like others before it, messes with those notions of ideal, romantic love and drags it through the reality of modern life.

Sex and drugs, but no rock ‘n roll feature heavily in the lessons as Andy leads the audience through his curriculum. Lots of bottom jokes, even the odd nipple clamp makes an appearance. Somehow aliens enter the fray with the usual probe jokes, but it is in keeping with the overall thrust of the show.

There are tips on sourcing material, writing and selecting just the right style to impress your wife on Valentine’s Day. You may even find them useful. The show is interspersed with nods to recent events as these can of course influence the author’s mindset. A little politics slips in, but not in a John Cooper-Clark style musing.

The result is a quite a bit of amusement, knowing smiles and the occasional laugh-out loud moment. It’s the kind of show that would work much better with a late Friday night audience, but if you like that style and content don’t be put off by the times of the show or the venue.

Andy is back for three more shows at the same venue – its small so get your tickets early to ensure a place!

Ian Parker Heath