Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 24th October 2014

Screaming Blue MurderWe’ve been having such a good time at the Screaming Blue Murders recently that we have been encouraging more friends to come and join us. Last Friday we were accompanied by the Sheriff of Shenstone, Lady Lichfield and the young Baron Brownhills. We were expecting our usual host Dan Evans to appear but in a change to the advertised programme, the show was hosted by Kate Smurthwaite, whose name suggests to me a little blue Belgian gnome with a big white cap. But she doesn’t look like that at all. She’s a genial, jovial, intelligent sort of comic, who makes a good connection with the audience and picked on the right people with whom to have some decent banter.Kate Smurthwaite The dishwasher girls and the father-in-law/sons-in-law group gave good value, as did the inevitable comedy fans from Travis Perkins (IT department). She strayed a little into politics, but we’re not very interested in that kind of thing here. Sorry about that.

Paul F TaylorOur first act was Paul F Taylor, an innately funny guy with a great sense of the surreal and a fast attacking style. He stayed just on the right side of manic all the way through his material, which includes some pungent puns and shaggy dog stories. I liked his analogy that much of his set was like the middle aisle in Aldi, and really enjoyed his final sequence, where vending machines take on human identities. He went down well with the crowd, and I hope he comes back for more some time.

Karen BayleySecond, and continuing the change to the advertised programme, we had the return of Karen Bayley, whom we have already seen three times, once as host and twice as the opening act. If you’ve not seen her before she is extremely funny with her self-deprecating, “desperate for sex” material, channelling all her desires to the youngest man in the front row, this time Chris, 26, who several times looked as though he wanted the earth to swallow him up. It’s all brilliantly funny, and the Sheriff thought she was sensational – but if I have a criticism, it is that Karen has more or less performed precisely the same routine four times now, and I reckon it’s time to shake the act up a little.

Robert WhiteFinal act was also someone we’ve seen twice before, and always enjoyed, Robert White. Looking extremely innocent, and gently knocking out some bontempi tunes on his keyboard, he uses his unique selling point combination of being gay and having Asperger’s syndrome to make up extremely funny, frequently saucy songs about all the members of the audience whose identities had been revealed by earlier comics. He usually discovers some rather straight-laced chap in the front to whom he starts singing explicit sex songs, and then in whom we all delight watching him squirm. But this time his first choice of target was gay and so that wasn’t going to work, then his second choice turned out to be someone who was equally happy to “take him on”, so to speak, so Mr White’s usually hilarious finale got scuppered. Nevertheless, it was great fun to witness it all fall apart in the most light-hearted of manners.

A reasonably sized house this week, but come on Northampton, you can do better – everyone book for the next show on 7th November!

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