Culture, Cabaret and Comedy

After fog in Edinburgh having me worried that my flight would be delayed I managed to make it from Gatwick, to Bloomsbury then back, South of the river, to Stockwell for An Event Of Some Kind hosted by H Anthony Hildebrand of Junior Ministers. It was a really fun evening; music was provided by Witness the Beard and Don’t Tread on Spiders, and comedy from Eric Lampaert and Tom Basden. I have only seen Tom once before, and that was in Edinburgh, so I was delighted to get the chance to see his incredibly funny musical whimsy again. As at every AEOSK there was an audience drawing competition. The challenge this time was to draw two people (or animals, or things) kissing under the mistletoe. I was very proud to win a Junior Ministers CD for my picture of my two favourite fictional Christmas characters – Father Christmas and the Baby Jesus. After the gig I made my way back to my (quite) posh hotel in Bloomsbury which I was only staying at because I’d managed to get a cheap deal on!

I had been at AEOSK with Kate, Shell and Simone. I met up with them again on Saturday afternoon at Sadler’s Wells Theatre where we were going to see Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. The tickets were quite expensive but we had booked them so long ago that it was almost like it was free – I often trick my brain into thinking this when I’m justifying spending a lot of money on shows I’m not going to see for ages. In fact I think we booked the Swan Lake tickets when I was still working and before I’d even applied to go on my teacher training course!  I really love Matthew Bourne’s style of choreography (I went to see his production of Dorian Gray in Glasgow a couple of months ago, which was excellent) and I grew up dancing to the music of Swan Lake so this was a perfect combination. Bourne manages to inject plenty of humour into what is really a powerful and moving story, and the athleticism and grace displayed by the two lead male characters (The Prince and The Swan) and the ensemble of male swans was breathtaking. I would highly recommend this production, even if ballet or dance isn’t usually your thing.

After some catching up over diet cokes in the pub (rock and roll I know) and a delicious Turkish dinner, we made our way over to the Roundhouse in Camden for our second show of the day – the indescribable La Clique. The show, set in traditional, in the round, circus-style is ‘a heady cocktail of cabaret, new burlesque, circus sideshow and contemporary variety’ according to their website. I had a vague idea of what to expect but it is really difficult to describe, other than to say you almost definitely won’t have seen anything like it before! I think my favourite act was the daredevil trapeze artists, The Wau Wau Sisters but all I can really say is go see it for yourself and make your own mind up.

After my first experience of a London night bus (uneventful) and another night in the (quite) posh hotel (comfortable) I managed to get up in time for breakfast, spent the early afternoon in the Apple Store and the O2 shop trying to get the 3G sorted out on my phone (successfully) I met up with my brother and Shell to see Stewart Lee at the Leicester Square Theatre in his show ‘If you prefer a milder comedian please ask for one’. I had already seen the show in Edinburgh  but neither Mark or Shell had and I was looking forward to seeing it again, without having to endure an hour on an uncomfortable bar stool in a boiling hot venue. Mr Lee certainly didn’t disappoint. After an early, hilarious, mishap with smoke distribution (while trying to have a rock’n’roll entrance the smoke machine just kept on going, meaning we couldn’t see Stewart and he didn’t even know if he was facing the right way), the show got under way. There had been a few additions since Edinburgh, and some material which I’m guessing had been added that day after Lee lost out to Michael McIntyre as ‘Best Live Stand-up’ at the previous evening’s British Comedy Awards. Lee is definitely one of my favourite comedians at the moment although I suppose he does have that marmite quality for some people. I’m glad I got the chance to see the show again and I hope he comes up to Edinburgh with another new show next year.

So that’s the first 3 days of my London Christmas Comedy Adventure. I’m back at the Leicester Square Theatre again tonight to see the recording of the last As It Occurs To Me, Richard Herring’s latest comedy/podcast venture and I’m looking forward to bumping into a few familiar faces. I’ve then got a ticket for Mark Watson’s ‘Work In Progress’ show at 9.30pm so I’m hoping Herring doesn’t get too carried away, what with it being the last AIOTM tonight.

There’s plenty more comedy (and science from Robin Ince’s ‘9 Lessons and Carols for Godless People’) to come in the rest of the week so I’ll try and keep blogging. It’s more for my benefit really – if I don’t I’ll never remember what I’ve seen and when. Ah…it’s a hard life sometimes.

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