Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 4th November 2016

Screaming Blue MurderBack again to the Underground at the Derngate for yet another fun-filled night of stand-uppers at the Screaming Blue Murder club. Every so often, our usual host Dan finds something else to do on an autumnal Friday night and so we have a stand-in host. According to the website it was going to be the excellent Andrew Bird, but instead we had the also excellent Carly Smallman! We’ve seen Ms Smallman a few times before; on the last occasion she caused something of a stir when she encouraged our friend HRH The Crown Prince of Bedford to go out with one of the girls in the front row, and they got offended when he refused. Well he is gay after all.

Carly SmallmanThis time she was once again delving deep into the relationships in the front rows. She got into conversation with Farmer Tristan, who met his wife when she came to shove her hand up one of his sheep’s bottoms. Allegedly she’s a vet. Carly also discovered that one of the girls in the front row worked in mental health with children – comedy gold, as she pointed out, not. At least she could always fall back on her impersonations of penises – which she did very well. In fact, she was absolutely great and we both really enjoyed her MCing throughout the night. She really kept the energy and enthusiasm up and was a most excellent replacement for Dan!

Stephen BaileyOur first act was Stephen Bailey, whom we saw earlier this year as the support act for Katherine Ryan. Now here’s a comic who hits the ground running. With his reasonably outrageous camp style, he’s impossible not to like and his rapport with the audience is just instant and winning. It wasn’t long before he was making Sam, the front row policeman, squirm with embarrassment. As before, he has lots of scurrilous material regarding dating websites; his infamously bad impression of a straight man; and numerous, off the cuff jokes about anything to do with sex that pops into his head. He’s a complete star – and had the full house in hysterics. Absolutely brilliant.

Fern BradySecond up was Fern Brady, whom we have seen here once before; she still has that slightly laconic style that takes a little bit of getting used to, particularly after the high energy of Mr Bailey and Ms Smallman. But her material is great and her observations are spot on. She has a very nice sense of self-deprecation, and a wickedly funny understanding of how best to market herself on a dating website. She went down really well.

gordon-southernFinal act was someone new to us – Gordon Southern. A brilliantly funny guy who again struck up an instant rapport with the audience and whose act developed into a nostalgia trip where the older members of the audience look back at those funny things we used to do in the good old days and the youngsters in the audience haven’t a clue what we’re talking about. All this is interspersed with nonsensical electronic jingles from his keyboard – fun facts. We both thought he was outstanding and his act seemed to fly by.

One of those glorious Screaming Blue nights where no one put a foot wrong and it was wall to wall laughter for two and a half hours. Sadly, we can’t make the final SBM of the year in two weeks’ time – but maybe you can?

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