Review: Josie Long @ Warwick Arts Centre, 23rd January 2020

Josie Long
Josie Long: Something better

What does it mean to bring a child into the world? Josie Long‘s latest offering, Tender, delved into this in a uniquely touching and comic way, despite a lack of surprising subject matter, with childbirth, motherhood and climate change as the foundations underpinning it.

It’s always been the treatment of such ideas which has distinguished Long from other performers; dealing with bigger themes which audiences can relate to, but using them to make something much smaller and more intimate, surrendering the macro in favour of the micro, and zooming in onto tiny moments or fragments of thoughts and feelings – both as part of her stand-up and in her storytelling/documentary series, Radio 4’s Short Cuts. Continue reading “Review: Josie Long @ Warwick Arts Centre, 23rd January 2020”

Preview: The Horne Section @ Warwick Arts Centre, 9th May 2019

The Horne Section
Round the Horn(e): The Horne Section head to Coventry on their UK tour

Musical comedy powerhouse the Horne Section are set to embark on their biggest UK tour to date this spring. The acclaimed sextet, led by stand-up Alex Horne, have thrilled audiences over the past decade, at the Edinburgh Fringe and with their eponymous Radio 4 show, not to mention a star-studded TV special filmed at the London Palladium and broadcast on Dave last year.

Their mammoth 36-date tour visits Coventry on Thursday 9th May for an evening at Warwick Arts Centre, with other Midlands dates including Nottingham Playhouse on 18th April, Dudley Town Hall on 2nd May, Leamington’s Spa Centre on 7th October and Northampton Deco on 18th October.

Read a syndicated interview with Alex Horne – creator and co-host of the BAFTA- and Emmy-nominated Taskmaster, also broadcast on Dave – below for an insight into what the tour has in store for audiences, as well as more about how the Horne Section were formed, what makes them tick, and all that jazz.

Continue reading “Preview: The Horne Section @ Warwick Arts Centre, 9th May 2019”

Fat Penguin Comedy Club announces line-up for November 2018

Tom Wrigglesworth
Tom Wrigglesworth: Performing his greatest hits (and some new bits)

Birmingham comedy fans will probably be familiar with the long-established Fat Penguin Comedy Club, and their line-up for November must be among their best yet. A weekly Wednesday night gig hosted by Jay Handley at the Patrick Kavanagh in Moseley, this month’s shows include a few of Who’s Laughing Now’s favourite acts and are not to be missed. Continue reading “Fat Penguin Comedy Club announces line-up for November 2018”

Review: Mark Steel @ Warwick Arts Centre, 6th May 2018

Mark Steel
Mark Steel: Alright?

Mark Steel is angry. That isn’t a new thing, as anyone who’s followed the career of the long-time Radio 4 favourite will know, but on his latest tour Steel wasn’t just irate about the current state of UK and world politics, but also had lots to get off his chest about his personal life too.

Titled Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright, this show found him in a slightly different mode than usual, flitting between exasperation at what’s going on in the world and picking at the things about the modern world which confuse and frustrate him, along with tracing the decline of his marriage. Continue reading “Review: Mark Steel @ Warwick Arts Centre, 6th May 2018”

Review: Milton Jones @ Warwick Arts Centre, 28th October 2017

Milton Jones
Milton Jones: Surreal one-liners which are truly Out There

Gag merchant Milton Jones has been a mainstay of Britain’s stand-up circuit for quite some time now, though it took a number of years before he graduated to playing rooms the size of Warwick Arts Centre‘s Butterworth Hall. A deserved beneficiary of a television boost, thanks to his regular appearances on the long-running panel show Mock the Week, his relentless stream of perfectly-formed one-liners have won him a large following.

Before his belated TV exposure, though, Jones has been entertaining Radio 4 listeners for many years with his joke-packed sitcom series, and of course his frequent touring schedule is now as anticipated as his wild hair and brightly-patterned shirts. Continue reading “Review: Milton Jones @ Warwick Arts Centre, 28th October 2017”

Review: Mark Thomas @ Warwick Arts Centre, 14th February 2017

Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas: Stand-up with a social and political conscience

In recent years, stand-up and activist Mark Thomas has tended to flit between overtly political shows and more personal, theatrical flourishes, such as the deeply touching Bravo Figaro and the highly acclaimed Cuckooed. His latest effort in this sphere, The Red Shed, was perhaps the closest he’s come to merging the two strands of his recent output, being a personal voyage in political protest and recollection of the miners’ strike.

The titular shed, a Labour club based in Wakefield, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, and this show was Thomas’ tribute to its influence and staying power throughout turbulent times. In truth, though, it was as much a reflection of the inner workings of the Red Shed as an investigation into Thomas’ own memories, notably of children in a school playground singing a workers’ anthem, and of whether his memory is accurate or a romanticised version of events. Continue reading “Review: Mark Thomas @ Warwick Arts Centre, 14th February 2017”

Review: Marcus Brigstocke @ Warwick Arts Centre, 3rd December 2016

brigstocke
Marcus Brigstocke: A sharp satirical voice

Radio 4 stalwart Marcus Brigstocke returned to Coventry with his latest show which was very much an evening of two halves. This new offering, self-deprecatingly titled Why the Long Face?, focused not just on the righteous ire and satirical anger which has dominated so much of his work (though there was plenty of that too), but was also about his personal troubles of late.

Certainly, the first half of the show dealt mainly with the somewhat mixed bag of a year that’s been 2016 – one of political upheaval, the rise of fascism and myriad deaths of beloved cultural icons. Brigstocke, not surprisingly, saved much of his outrage for the subject of the EU referendum, with his pro-European rant being greeted with applause and cheers of approval, but crucially managing to fit in a surfeit of gags along the way. Continue reading “Review: Marcus Brigstocke @ Warwick Arts Centre, 3rd December 2016”

Review: Max & Ivan @ Warwick Arts Centre, 25th May 2016

Max & Ivan
Max & Ivan: this is the end

Having embarked on their first ever full tour, sketch duo Max & Ivan (Max Olesker and Ivan Gonzalez) are most likely performing to many audience members for the first time, which seems odd given how long they’ve been a key act on the British sketch comedy scene.

Despite the numerical difference, there are certainly some parallels with one of the other leading sketch acts in the country: Pappy’s. Most notably, both have a predilection for shows which bring together multiple characters and sketches into a narrative whole. Additionally, both have intangible strengths which mean their best work is on the stage, with forays into other media not working quite as well (see Radio 4 series The Casebook of Max & Ivan, which failed to live up to their fearsome live reputation). Continue reading “Review: Max & Ivan @ Warwick Arts Centre, 25th May 2016”

Review: Mark Steel @ Warwick Arts Centre, 11th February 2016

Mark Steel
Mark Steel’s back in town

Nature or nurture? You might think you know who you are, and why, but veteran stand-up Mark Steel‘s latest show proved it might not be as clear-cut as you thought. The Radio 4 favourite and cricket fan grew up in Swanley, in Kent, knowing he was adopted, and in Who Do I Think I Am? he told the tale of how he found out the strange truth about his mother and father.

While there was a strong undercurrent of Steel’s politicised material – he’s an ardent left-wing comic and activist – this show was a deeply personal couple of hours which concentrated far more on storytelling than his usual output would suggest. Continue reading “Review: Mark Steel @ Warwick Arts Centre, 11th February 2016”

Preview: Mark Steel – Who Do I Think I Am? on tour

marksteel
Mark Steel’s back in town

Mark Steel returns to the West Midlands as part of a long UK tour, with his latest show – perhaps his most personal to date. The stalwart of the UK comedy circuit, and Radio 4 favourite, is back with Who Do I Think I Am?, which sees Steel tracing his own life and finding out about his birth mother’s life too.

In recent years Steel’s shows have been geared towards his …In Town format, which sees him doing material about the area where he’s performing, and he’s recorded several series for BBC Radio 4 in addition to regular tours. But this latest outing finds him tackling subjects much closer to home.

Mark Steel performs Who Do I Think I Am? at Coventry’s Warwick Arts Centre on February 11th and at Birmingham’s Old Rep Theatre on June 3rd. Please see the venue websites for ticket prices and booking details.