A festival I’ve been meaning to go to for many years, I finally got organised enough to attend ( just like Tedfest in Feb).
After managing to acquire a speeding ticket on the way there…just in such a rush to get there. Mach turned out to be a lovely trip to catch up with comedy mates, to see how a small and ambitious festival can work in a town with a 3,000 population in the middle of deepest Wales without compromising anything, whilst also being the first weekend away with the wife without the child, thanks grandparents ( who needed a holiday themselves after).
First up to see was Ed Aczel with a work in progress at the Bowling Club, if you’re going to go to a comedy festival, dive in first with the most challenging work you can find. I wasn’t disappointed on that score. Dryer than sunburnt sandpaper, this was a long hour which felt right at the start of a show shaping up. A nice impression of Michael Caine from the King of Anti-comedy won out but it was a tough win for Ed and audience.
Next up Rob Deering in the canteen, if you had a comedy energy scale, Ed would be at one end, and Rob would def be near the top of the other, a great contrast in approach, which is always good to keep you on your toes. In truth, a very fun hours with lots of tricks with beat boxes and guitar playing, the lego song is a genuine classic whilst the coffee song refuses to leave my brain still.
David Trent offered another route to comedy heaven with the use of projectors and clever use of music. You can tell how well regarded someone is by the amount of other comic’s in the room, spotted here were Josie Long, Josh Widdicombe and John Robins to name but a few. A few technical hitches along the way but this show is now a lot slicker than the work in progress I saw in Leicester a couple of years ago. So much packed into it, he eventually ran out of time, the Johnny Johnny clip with Slayer is genuinely disturblingly funny.
Rounding off Day 1 was Scott Gibson, this was my favourite show of the day, he lures you in with some seemingly straight forward tales of stag do’s then pulls the rug from under ya with a real direction change, so many big laughs here and sometimes you’re thinking, should I really be laughing at this but his delivery is spot on. A great hour.
Day 1 over and apart from helping a man who had managed to lock himself in the back of his van it was back to the Centre of Alternative Technology to catch up on a few years of sleep. http://www.cat.org.uk/index.html
Day 2 and after catching up with ‘the scout hut’, all the Edinburgh/Leicester panellists and scouts over breakfast for comparing shows and must see’s, it was off for the comedy quiz, set by Mark Olver, 50 questions that ranged from post codes of comedy venues to times of trains you’d have to get when finishing a set, yeah that easy, but we only went and won, the ‘comedy shield of destiny! well done team. Not a bad start to the day.
First show up was meant to be Jo Neary but she had had to cancel, so we re-booked and plumped for George Egg and what a great choice, this turned out to be an inventive, very funny, gagged riddled show as far removed from a stand up set as you could get as George cooked 3 meals from his shed. A very experienced comic.
Michael Legge and Caroline Mabey were up next for their ‘two stupids’, best described as a real knockabout session that had lots of highs and lulls as you’d expect. Michael Legge’s 1950’s diary extracts were splendid. joyous nonsense.
Continuing in the joyous nonsense theme was Beth Vyse’s show about a story on a cruise ship, Jayne McDonald, losing your sass, lots of audience participation including some sort of conga out of the venue at one point. Beth totally went for it, there was no room for passengers on this show and her force of nature made it work.
Johnny and the Baptists followed at a packed Hyddgen or the school hall. A story about inequality, some songs, some lecturing and a very happy crowd. Comedy with a message, yes please.
Fern Brady at the Billiard room was up next, and this was about the most straight ahead stand up of the day from a very fine comic whose unafraid to tackle dark subjects with great skill. another hit.
Final show of the night was the mighty Josie Long, the show was called ‘Something better’ and this was the perfect ending to the evening and the festival, Josie was enjoying herself so much that she was on stage when we went in and after her show carried on for a long while, someone who really embraces life.
So that was that, so many other shows we wanted to pack in from Phil Coopers welsh show to Phoebe Walsh, Johnny Pelham, Jarred Christmas, Steffun Alun, John Shuttleworth, Elenor Tiernan, John Kearns, Laura Lexx, Becky Brunning, Spencer Jones, Rachel Parris, Charlie Baker, Sara Pascoe, Bec Hill, Paul F Taylor, Pierre Novellie, Lazy Susan, Ian Smith, Seymour Mace, Phil Jerrod, Elf Lyons, Phil Kay etc…but that’s probably another two festivals! oh well. next time. Mach, we will be back.
over and out