Machynlleth Comedy Festival April 2017

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

Tim

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Submarine Comedy Club – arises – April 17

So it was back to business for the Submarine Comedy Club at a new home after a year on sabbatical. The refurbished Granary at the George Hotel is perfect for the type of in yer face comedy frome folk like, a real gem.

Tonight’s gig was in aid of the Jamie Mines fund appeal, https://www.gofundme.com/raising-money-for-jamie-mines

and continues out philosophy of supporting local causes and giving something back which remains a central aim of Submarine Comedy, pay it forward etc.

Anyway, onto the comedy and first on tonight was our new resident MC, the magnificent Sally Anne Hayward, who had done her research on local issues and was soon finding the funny  with a debate on the Victoria park toilets vote, the steiner school and giving blood. Naturally funny, she warmed up the crowd nicely for our first act Tom Glover ( replacing the President Obonjo, who’d had to drop out at short notice), Tom is a Submarine favourite and is turning into a fine comic, lots of new material, particular favourite is the little boys career advice. A great start.

In the middle section, Sally continued the banter with Glady’s the psychologist and brought on two newer acts. We are passionate about bringing new, up and coming acts to town we think are going places, see previous acts we’ve brought to town; Jenny Collier, Alfie Brown, Jon Robins, Russell Hicks, Laura Lexx and one certain Jon Richardson (whatever happened to him?) and so tonight, Louise Leigh and Tony Davidson were on in the middle, Louise went on first, barely a year into her comedy career and she exudes a tremendous amount of confidence, lovely jokes about MILF’s went down well with the audience and a great joke about teaching kids swimming was my fav. Next up was Tony who kept the energy going with a fantastic set, a gifted storyteller and even a pun run thrown in the set which even when getting a few groans was mixed with some big laughs. Two very impressive sets.

Finally, onto our headliner, Nick Page, to hit the stage. Someone whose been at the top of our ‘must book’ list for a long time now. I’ve seen Nick a few times but tonight it feels like he’s added another dimension to his comedy or maybe I just hadn’t noticed it before, which is his ability to present his set whilst also deconstructing it at the same time without dropping a beat or losing a laugh. An acknowledged accomplished storyteller, this was a master class in comedy. My fav was the bit about men of a certain age collecting bits of wood for no discernable reason, ahem. But the politics of everything he doesn’t believe in and the planning laws in Gloucestershire were also well mined for laughs.

and that was that. Thanks to all the acts, professionals all. Its nights like this that make it all worthwhile. Looks like we’ve raised approx. £110 for the Jamie Mines fund. well done everyone.

If you missed out, do not fear as the Submarine returns on Monday 10th July with the always raucous hi-jinks that is the ‘Best of the West’ competition, as part of the Frome festival. http://www.fromefestival.co.uk/