The first show I’d requested for today was Mugenkyo Tailo Drummers, but my emails weren’t getting any attention at the Assembly press office. The person dealing with press tickets seemed to want me to go in to the office every day to check whether tickets had been approved and by the time I got there I had missed the show – so not a good start.
By contrast I had an email from Gaby, a publicist for 20 comedy acts (including the Phill Jupitus show I had seen on day two). I emailed Gaby asking if she could sort me a place at a show that started in an hour and she emailed straight back telling me that the ticket would be waiting for me at the box office. Wow, what great service.
Catriona Knox: Player
Catriona Knox (Pleasance Courtyard Attic, 3.15pm) is a member of the Boom Jennies whose show Mischief I’d reviewed last year (although I didn’t know until I arrived at my seat).
This was more of the same with short sketches (some better than others). I don’t like shows that pick on members of the audience and Catriona works very hard at the show but she picked on several people to contribute – particularly a chap called Kenny. Kenny was almost involved in every sketch. Poor guy. It wasn’t that this show was bad, quite the opposite – it’s just not my type of comedy.
Catriona Knox: Player ★★★☆☆
Mark Thomas: 100 Acts Of Minor Dissent I then took a leisurely walk across the city to the Stand comedy club on York Place where Mark Thomas was performing his new show 100 Acts Of Minor Dissent.
He started by reading out his manifesto for this project and he has to commit 100 acts of minor dissent within a year or donate £1,000 to UKIP. So far Mark has managed about 28 acts and he encouraged us to join in on this subversion.
One of his bugbears are bankers who say, “If they take away my bonus, I will leave the country”, so Mark has created a website, We Will Drive Them To The Airport to find volunteers to take bankers to the departure lounge.
He has also developed The B*****d Trade Logo Certificate which is an award he has invented to present to companies with substandard practices. A trademark application has been granted recently.
“Much like Fairtrade,” Mark said, “we will have a certification programme whereby people can apply and say this company is working to substandard behaviour and we would like to give them the B*****d Trade Logo Certificate.”
This show was brilliant from start to finish and I laughed so much I had tears running down my face. It is a must see show and is touring the whole country until the end of December (see below for Yorkshire dates).
Mark Thomas: 100 Acts Of Minor Dissent ★★★★★
When Art Imitates Life After Mark’s show I had to dash across the city to get to the BBC big blue tent for a free discussion show called When Art Imitates Life: How Comedians Use Their Life on Stage.
The guests on the show were Susan Calman and Mark Thomas (if I’ve have known that I’d had cadged a lift in his BBC car). I found the discussion interesting although quite a few people walked out maybe because it wasn’t a laugh a minute. Instead important topics were being discussed – albeit in a light-hearted manner.
When Art Imitates Life: How Comedians Use Their Life on Stage ★★★☆☆
Ellie Taylor Presents Puppetry The last show of the night was another BBC free ticketed blue tent job, Ellie Taylor Presents Puppetry. Only it wasn’t Ellie Taylor it was a Scottish chap whose name I didn’t get (Iain Stirling off of CBBC – Ed).
This was a puppet showcase of three acts all doing 15 minutes shows. The first ventriloquist was Paul Zerdin who’s delivery was slightly patronising. I’ve seenNina Conti do the same sort of show so much better.
Paul Zerdin ★★★☆☆
Next up were the Flabbergast Theatre, with two puppets Boris and Sergey that I just didn’t find funny. I looked around the audience and not many people seemed to be laughing.
Flabbergast Theatre ★★☆☆☆
Last up were the Henson Alternative’s Puppet Up! – Uncensored show which was fantastic and the only puppets to rival Falsetto Socks. There were some set pieces but a lot of the 15 minutes was improvised and it was great. I would like to see a full show because it was brilliantly funny and technically superb.
Henson Alternative’s Puppet Up! – Uncensored ★★★★☆
Show of the Day: Mark Thomas – 100 Acts Of Minor Dissent