Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 27th May 2016

Screaming Blue MurderAnother Friday night at the Screaming Blue Murder club and they’d gone back to the original seating plan – no side seats so that people could stare into the comic’s ears. But that wasn’t the main topic of conversation before curtain up – we had a “technical problem” which meant that the show started a good half hour late. I know what the “technical problem” was, but I am sworn to secrecy. All I can say about it is: hahahahahaha.

Dan EvansA downside to starting late is that, if you’ve got a rowdy crowd, they’ve got another thirty minutes to get even more tanked up than normal. Such was the predicament facing Dan Evans when he came on to warm us all up. Within seconds of his opening gambit, a chap in the front row started commenting on Dan’s new trainers. (To be fair, they were very nice.) From then on, you could hardly shut him or his mates up. And there was something… slightly threatening about them. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t threatened, oh no sirree. But I sensed others were. So the question is, do you engage with them and let them make themselves look like a fool (can be funny) or do you ignore them? Minimal engagement seemed the best option. Unfortunately, one of our acts went for a more head-to-head alternative. More of that later.

JoJo SmithOur first act was someone that we might have seen before – if so it was before I started blogging – Jo Jo Smith. Ms Smith is one helluva ballsy woman. You know the type. Sex was either the main topic or a subtopic in almost every sentence she spoke, and she was only too keen to share her experience of her post-menopausal dried-up vagina. This was particularly embarrassing for the wholesome Indian family sat in the front row. Only the father roared his head off the whole night. His offspring and his wife sat with their head in the hands wishing the earth to open up. So that Ms Smith didn’t engage with the difficult lads (quite right) she turned her attention to the Indians. Knowing the taboo nature of sex in India, the last thing those youngsters wanted was to have to confess to the nature of their sex lives in front of their parents. Their discomfort was pretty funny though. Ms Smith gave good value and we laughed a lot. She called me a silver fox, so she can’t be all bad.

Dane BaptisteOur second act, and someone we have seen before, very recently, was Dane Baptiste. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that Monsieur Baptiste (I continue to use his French title) is one of the most incisive and intelligent comics on stage today. Having seen him so recently I thought his act would largely be a repeat of what we’d seen before – but no, there was a lot of new stuff there. I absolutely loved his material about how straight guys need to have a lesbian best friend. And he dealt with the awkward guys extremely well. He has the audience in the palm of his hand and gives the most confident, assertive, but never remotely offensive, delivery. A total star in my book.

Howard ReadOur final act was Howard Read – again someone who is a frequent guest at these Screaming Blue Nights. He is a naturally most gifted comedian and has loads of material about fatherhood – including his famous lullaby, which I think he has sung every time he has been here but it is such a funny piece we’re always happy to hear it again. Unfortunately, he tried to take the difficult guys on and didn’t entirely win, so I felt we lost some valuable laughter time overall. Nevertheless, he did a great job in maybe slightly trying circumstances.

That’s it for summer! No more Screaming Blue Murders until September. Why not get booking now!

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