Micky Flanagan – Bloomsbury Theatre

Monday 24th May 2010

As one of the breakthroughs from the recent Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, the talented Micky Flanagan brings his Out Out Tour to the Bloomsbury Theatre.

report to follow…

Terry Alderton – Bloomsbury Theatre

Friday 21st May 2010

Terry who? Exactly. Sometimes I like to book a show without any knowledge of the performing artist. This was no different and with this approach there are often no expectations at all.

report to follow…

Robin Ince’s School of Gifted Children May Ball – Bloomsbury Theatre

Friday 7th May 2010

Considering I’d missed an earlier School of Gifted Children 5 weeks ago, I was determined to make it to the May Ball – Module One.

It was the evening after the early hours of the General Election result. With no clear winner, most of the audience seemed exhausted after staying up through the night to watch the race unfold. The only thing that was clear, was that nothing was clear. A slightly somber Robin Ince entered the stage, sharing the pain felt by most of the audience. However, an array of ‘gifted children’ from the worlds of comedy, science and beyond were backstage waiting for their opportunity to enlighten us.

It was up to Martin White, with his karaoke-style entertainment to give us a kick up the backside and awaken us from this nightmarish dream. With random audience answers defining the lyrics and musical notes, along with a 3 syllable title, Napalm Death was the astonishingly catchy outcome.

On stage next was Andrew Collins with his attack on the red squirrel brigade and their somewhat racist goal of wiping out the grey squirrels. He also let it be known that he’d like a robin to eat from his hand, a duck to give him a kiss on the cheek and to walk hand in hand with a pigeon. I wish him well with all his ambitions.

With her self-confessed Susan Boyle appearance, Susan Vale cracked on with ‘normally I just do gags about quantum physics and end with a joke about nobs, but I can’t because Brian is here tonight.’ With her enormous collection of CD’s from the Fall and audience participation, her routine was disturbingly funny.

‘Wonders Man’, Professor Brian Cox focused on the lack of government investment in scientific research. As I’d hoped, a spectacular slide show followed, with astonishing images including the Earth as a just a pale blue dot, along with the Milky Way in all its glory. Climate change deniers were provided with a lesson on ‘known’ facts, while astrologers who continue to correspond with him were told where to go in no uncertain terms.

Surprisingly, Dr Simon Singh was introduced next for a brief talk on libel reform, covering his ordeal with the British Chiropractic Association. He in turn introduced Ben Goldacre, focusing the plight of Dr Evan Harris, having lost his seat in the General Election to a Christian fundamentalist Conservative in the early hours. Both Simon and Ben arrived as a show of support for Evan, and after the 4th attempt to sound out the ex MP in the audience, he finally made his whereabouts known and the response was an immediate standing ovation.

The science talk continued with Adam Rutherford taking on mantle covering topics like ‘if we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?’ He focused on evolution and genetics, with the latest evidence on the often maligned Neanderthal. Maybe we really are closer to them than we are led to believe.

Gavin Osbourn, still fresh from playing the music to Napalm Death earlier, gave the audience a superb performance on the first time he’d seen Professor Brian Cox on HD. So yet another ‘gifted child’, focusing on the rise and rise of the ‘young’ professor.

Marcus Brigstocke was to provide the finale with a bout of comedy to send us all home with a smile on our face. He didn’t disappoint with his magic numbers routine, along with one of my favourites, the London bus ad campaigns.

So that was it. Or was it? The headmaster Robin Ince came out once again to a fully enlightened, and extremely tired audience, to announce yet another special guest. This time it was Tim Minchin. Walking barefooted onto the stage, the audience were given a rendition of The Pope Song, the first time he’d performed it live. That was the icing on the tastiest cake ever made!


BBC Comedy Presents – Bloomsbury Theatre

Wednesday 31st March 2010

The final ever BBC Comedy Presents had a strong line up with Ardol O’Hanlon headlining the show at the Bloomsbury Theatre.

Back at one of my favourite venues, we took our seats near the stage. Host for the evening Dan Atkinson had the audience in the right mood after a good warm-up set. Marlon Davis, continued with an entertaining routine, before Sara Pascoe delivered a humourous performance.

Angelos Epithemiou, better known as a panel member in the latest series of Shooting Stars, was the first half finale. A superb, strangely idiotic routine, had the audience in the palm of his hands. At one point, he stared me out just after I’d taken a photo of him, even posing for another one during his routine.

The second half began with a hilarious musical improv routine performed by Abandoman. Really clever and thoroughly enjoyable. A surprise appearance next, when Micky Flanagan, a late addition to the bill, entered the stage. With a fantastic stage presence, his performance was sensational, especially the ‘nosy neighbour’ routine.

The final ever BBC Comedy Presents performer was Arlon O’Hanlon, who maybe past his best, still delivered a really entertaining routine. A great night of comedy, with the stand out performance perfected by Micky Flanagan. It’s a real shame that this event is to be discontinued.

Tim Vine – Bloomsbury Theatre

Sunday 21st February 2010

Having not seen the joke speedster live for around 10 years, I was really excited about Tim Vine’s Joke-Amotive Tour. Through experience, the key is not to keep laughing, as you end up missing half the gags!

Well I was back at The Bloomsbury Theatre for the third time in as many weeks. Up on stage first was the fine support act; comedian and magician John Archer. Pretty glad our seats were in the centre of the third row, as he used most of the first two rows to help with his routine. I loved it, especially as it had some logic, maths and comedy behind it. A truly superb performance paved the way for mr joke-amotive to enter the stage.

Anyone who’s seen Tim Vine and enjoys his humour, would understand how he had the audience laughing with seconds of coming on. I liken him to a comedian with a one-liner style set to 78rpm, with Jimmy Carr at 45rpm and Stewart Francis at 33rpm, thereby barely giving you time to laugh between gags. It’s therefore no surprise he once held the world record of 499 jokes in an hour.

His performance was hilarious, from the use of clever word play to the silly use of props, adding to the sharpness of the routine. I loved the running ‘torch’ theme, especially the banana shaped one. With the aid of his guitar, the audience were giving a few cracking numbers to a laugh at, whilst taking a break from the gagathon.

Tim Vine, along with support act John Archer, provided us with nearly 2 hours of pure entertainment. Tim Vine’s performance was as creative and amusing as ever. A must-see for anyone who enjoys this daft slapstick style of comedy. It was literally a laugh-a-minute gag extravaganza from the master of torpedo one-liners! It was also a nice surprise to meet him after the show, where he took time out to take photos with his fans.

Chris Addison – Bloomsbury Theatre

Saturday 13th February 2010

With five years since Chris Addison’s last tour, it was a great opportunity to a witness the star of The Thick of It at work at The Bloomsbury Theatre.

Slightly apprehensive about the show as these were front show seats and a friend had pulled out at the last-minute. Once there, I noticed that couple of people hasn’t turned up, basically leaving with 1 free seat on one side and 2 on the other. Thankfully, it was at the end of the row.

Didn’t take long for Chris Addison to mention Valentine’s Weekend. In the meantime, I was hoping the couple to my right would eventually turn up as I felt so exposed taking up 1 of 4 seats. He actually spent most of the gig either in the centre or directly in front of me. I’m sure there were moments where he considered saying something, but luckily a silly heckler just behind took almost all of his attention. Addison focused his attention on the apparent Director of Google Earth, slaughtering the lady as she continued with her incredible fabrications.

The performance involved highly clever and entertaining routines from sex, the gym, bankers and the BNP. Chris Addison explored class as expected, with humorous remarks like ‘EasyJet is a middle-class plot to keep BA for ourselves’. There was even time for a Q&A session, which was loads of fun too.

A lack of structure kept it entertaining throughout and enabled Chris Addison to go off in any direction he felt necessary. With a wealth of highly amusing material on offer, it was a fun way to spend Valentine’s Weekend.

John Bishop – Bloomsbury Theatre

Friday 29th January 2010

I enjoyed John Bishop’s performances on BBC’s Live at the Apollo and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow so booked tickets to see his Elvis Has Left The Building Tour.

Not sure why I wasn’t expecting much from the Bloomsbury Theatre, but I was really impressed. In fact, in no time at all I’d warmed to the place and by the time I’d left it was already one of my favourite comedy gig venues. Even John Bishop mentioned he thought it would be just him and his mates turning out for the night.

I was slightly worried that my Italian mate would struggle with the Liverpool accent, but apart from a few things he missed, it never really became an issue. John Bishop’s comedy style keeps you interested in what he has to say and his performance was entertainment from start to finish.

John Bishop described his entrance at Live at the Apollo where the sudden burst of smoke blinded him just as his act was set to begin. Luckily, there weren’t any gimmicks here. He explained how he was a successful salesman, who by a stroke a luck was thrown into comedy. So it was slightly ironic that at a recent corporate gig, he had to present the award for Best Hand-Held Utensil at the Kitchen Utensil Awards. Shame he didn’t tell us what device won.

There was loads of gags involving his three sons and their devotion to him. “It must be cool having a dad who’s a comedian”, says a friend, “no, he’s a knob”, replies his son. He couldn’t understand why his youngest needed a mobile, as he didn’t know anyone. In fact, the only people he knew all lived in the same house. More to the point, he had nothing to tell anyone anyway, he’s 7!

I loved the routine where he went to the gym after at least a six month lay-off and was told he needed to have an induction again. “Why do I need an induction, I know when I on the rowing machine, it isn’t going to go anywhere”.

The show began and ended with his beloved Liverpool and a charity match he was asked to play in at Anfield. Video footage was shown of heroes like Kenny Dalglish and John Barnes explaining what a great player he was, along with a running gag about a superb shot from outside the box. When the final footage was shown, the audience loved it. Hearing the commentators mention John Bishop’s name every time he touched the ball was pretty funny, as was the moment he came off, to be subbed by King Kenny.

A really fun night, with John Bishop on top form. So much so, I’ve already booked tickets to see him perform the Sunshine Tour at Wembley later on in the year!