We’re very lucky in Walthamstow to have a great little arty, cultural and giggy community.
This was very much in evidence last night when the 4 day Guffaw Comedy Fest (part of the Edinburgh Fringe Warm-Up season) kicked off at Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre Pub. Unlike the last time I was there, it was packed to the rafters. Probably about 140 moist little bodies squeezed into the hot, humid and airless ‘theatre’ room above the pub. Surprisingly, I managed to count about 30 people that I knew too – rather a high percentage, I feel.
The heaving audience was hardly surprising considering the draw of the headline act – the undeniably hilarious Richard Herring!
However, I must not get ahead of myself as we were first treated to a trio called Jigsaw who performed a load of sketches for us. I had personally never heard of them before, so was a little nervous as to what they would be like…but I have to admit, I thought they were brilliant and will definitely look out for them in the future. I particularly liked ‘Christmas With The Schrödingers’, but there really were a whole host of little gems (not the lettuces). Here’s an example of their stuff.
Everyone disappeared to the bar in the interval (probably to get anything with ice like I ordered!) and Richard Herring started putting out copies of his programme on the seats (and it’s a very good programme btw!). I probably should have got my copy signed, but had to rush off after the show (if Richard Herring happens to read this, can he please just send me his signature and I’ll trace it onto my copy ).
The show is ‘What Is Love Anyway?’ and I can’t actually put it any better than on his own website:
So asked the insane, Welsh, poet-philosopher, Howard Jones in 1983. But in the intervening 28 years no one has dared to answer his questions?
Comedian Richard Herring returns to Edinburgh for his 20th Fringe and 32nd show. Having sorted out religion (Christ on a Bike), politics (Hitler Moustache) and penises (Talking Cock), the star of award winning podcast As It Occurs To Me and Radio 4’s Richard Herring’s Objective seeks to define and destroy love. Before love destroys him. Again.
Is love just a chemical reaction in our brains by which our body selects potential sexual partners or is it a magical force which guides us unerringly to our soul mate, oddly usually waiting until we’re off our tits at a night club to do so?
Could a romantic gesture involving Ferrero Rocher chocolates get so out of control as to destroy the economic infrastructure of the United Kingdom?
Is the word being devalued if Richard’s dry cleaner claims to “love” all his customers, or is he actually only enamoured with Herring and too shy to tell him directly?
“What is love, anyway?” is a heart-warmingly honest and personal examination of the romantic (and not so romantic) adventures and misadventures of the UK’s most prolific comedian, as well as a genuine attempt to define this mysterious, debilitating, evil and wondrous emotion.
Richard took us on a rollercoaster of a ride, laughing at his stories of his first love, cringing at his two very differing tales of love for Julia Sawalha and emotionally tugged with his love for his gran. It was a brilliant, brilliant show – and this is just the warm-up – imagine what it’s going to be like once he’s polished it a bit more
If you get a chance to see him, do – you definitely wont be disappointed!
And for those that never watched Fist of Fun (or were just too young for the 90s!)
So, I have been putting off writing this review from Thursday as I really wasn’t sure where to start.
Now that I have actually started, I realise that I was a bit unprepared as we saw four acts on the night, and I only remember the names of two of them, so I can’t even do a decent review! What a rubbish blogger I really am!
The Guffaw Comedy Club has been at the Rose & Crown Theatre Pub in Walthamstow for a while now, but I had never been. Thursday was the last night of the current season (apart from 4 nights in July where there is a fantastic line-up including Richard Herring) and so I was convinced to go along.
The two girls that I went with had been to every show bar one, and said that it had generally been good, and that the headline acts were always really good. I hadn’t been upstairs into the theatre since they ripped out the bar – it makes a huge difference to the room. And the removal of the overly sticky carpet has been a vast improvement too. About 14 years ago, I used to do bar work over the R&C and I used to HATE having to work in the upstairs bar when there were functions!
Susan Murray is the compere/organiser for these shows and even though she’s been moaning about having a cold on Twitter, she seemed on great form So, the first guy (whose name I don’t remember) came on. He is actually from Walthamstow Village and I found him very amusing and personable. I liked him!
Next was another one whose name I can’t remember. He started off good, lost it a little in the middle I think, and then ended well with a song on his ukelele about stalking, which he sang to one of the girls I was with and which I found pretty funny. He was right, dark, disturbing lyrics just become adorable ditties when you accompany them on a ukelele!
Then came Michael Kossew (see, I remembered a name!). He actually started off really really well – a sketch about the verb ‘to Michael’ someone, which was really funny. Then at some stage in the proceedings, he just seemed to get very very inappropriate.
Now, this is hard to explain. I am not easy to shock. I am not some kind of virginal ‘laydee’. BUT, I think it can be very uncomfortable in such an intimate setting to be, well…intimate! This is a pretty small room, and there were no more than about 20 in the audience, so, if you find something a little uncomfortable then there is nowhere to hide. It’s all very in your face! I am NOT a prude, but I almost felt like I was being forced to be. He’d done really well, and then he said “Have I got time to tell one more story?”…and if he hadn’t, I would’ve thought he was brilliant!
So, that was a little uncomfortable and then we had the headline act – Ian Cognito.
Now, I hadn’t heard of him before, and I had NO idea what to expect (as I said before, I only went along at the last minute, so hadn’t really thoguht about who was on!). The problem that I had with Ian isn’t that he wasn’t funny because some of his jokes were absolutely hilarious and I couldn’t help but laugh.
It was his delivery. To put it quite bluntly, I felt a little scared! He is sweary (which I can take), but he is also very shouty – and quite vitriolic. Again, I can imagine that this would be fine in a large setting. In fact, if this had been at a small theatre with an audience of a couple of hundred or so, I probably would’ve thought he was hysterical!
But it wasn’t. It was a small room above a pub with an audience of around 20. And he scared me! He shouted, he went red in the face, he punched things and I was worried he was going to chuck his pint at us!
In reviews I’ve read of him since, he gets compared to the likes of Bill Hicks – and I can see that. i just don’t want it completely in my face!
Talking to some others after, I think he split everyone pretty much boys/girls. The guys seemed to absolutely love him and couldn’t understand why the girls hadn’t as much. That was a new experience for me!
It was certainly an interesting night though – and it wont put me off going when the season starts again in October. Comedy is so individual, so personal – and the girls have been to loads of nights that they thought were great…so, hey – who knows what we’ll get next time?!
(Well, actually, I know I’ll get Richard Herring…)