Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 9th October 2015

Screaming Blue MurderBack again at the Derngate for another lively line-up of comedians at the Screaming Blue Murder night. A very full audience, which is great news for everyone; and we were accompanied by HRH the Crown Prince of Bedford who has a penchant for sitting in the front row at comedy gigs. For some reason we’re fine with front row with Edinburgh comedy stand-ups, but at Screaming Blue we feel somewhat…exposed. So we compromised – second row. I think that’s fair.

Dan EvansOur host again was the inestimable Dan Evans, and it was something of a shock to see him out of uniform – I trust standards aren’t slipping. Mind you, how anyone could wear a suit in that sauna beats me. He got his usual good value out of the front row, which this time featured two lads who admitted to being 17 so that dad could reasonably buy them a pint, but from the look of them I’d have been surprised if one of them was barely 14 – cue lots of inappropriate masturbation gags that hit home with them with all too telling accuracy.

Jarlath ReganOur first act was Jarlath Regan, new to us, and I expect new to the venue too, as he cursed himself for the schoolboy error of wearing a warm woolly jumper beneath those bright glamorous lights. He has a marvellous, confident, gentle pace of delivery and some excellent material. We particularly liked his routine about talking to your printer as though it were a delinquent member of staff – I think Mrs Chrisparkle might use some of those lines at work. He also offers a useful self-help test to see if you’re part-Irish, even if you know you’re not. If you answered yes to any of the questions – you’re part-Irish. I answered yes to them all. A very funny start.

Carly SmallmanOur second act, and a replacement to the advertised programme, was Carly Smallman, whom we have seen twice before and who always delivers a sharp, punchy routine, mainly about sex. This time she concentrated on the internet dating side of sex, particularly as there was a clearly sex-starved woman at the back who regarded dickpics as an honourable stage in the quest for matrimony. At one point Carly challenged HRH to chat up a lovely young lady in the front row, who looked decidedly put out when he declined; however, once Carly had established that he does indeed bat for the other team, the young lady looked decidedly relieved. When we last saw her, Carly gave us a song about meeting the boyfriend’s parents for the first time; this time she sang us a song about finding out he was gay, so I’m guessing the wedding’s off. A very funny and pacey routine.

Paddy LennoxOur headline act was someone else we’d seen before, though as a compere not a comic per se, Paddy Lennox. He really kept the energy up with some cracking material about class, relationships… and cats and dogs. He did a survey of the audience to find out how many men knew what a pelvic floor was – no surprise at our general ignorance, but at least using the word “fanny” a lot delighted the two lads at the front. All in all, a first rate set.

One of those brilliant occasions were all four of our entertainers were on top form and tapped precisely into the kind of things the audience wanted to hear. A great night! Looking forward to the next!

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