We’ve attended 77 (yikes!) editions of Screaming Blue Murder over the years but this one was something different for me at least – because instead of being accompanied by Mrs Chrisparkle, I was one of ten guys out on a stag do, in honour of my future stepfather-in-law (Sir William) in preparation for his forthcoming nuptuals with my mother-in-law (Lady Duncansby). As well as some of Sir William’s old pals, also present were my three stepbrothers-in-law-to-be, and one of my future stepnephews-in-law. Debrett’s are going to have a Field Day. Naturally, like all good hen and stag parties we hogged the front row, placing Sir William in the centre so that he could get the full attention of the comics. However, unlike most hen and stag parties, our groom is the fine old age of 74, and at least three of the four people on stage that night did a double-take when they saw him. Good on him for taking it all in the best possible spirit, which is what he’d been drinking solidly since 5pm.
Dan Evans was in charge as usual, and on fine form as he traded banter with some vociferous youngsters on our left, explored hairdressing options (like his follicles, few and far between) with a young female barber, and got thoroughly confused as to the ages of Sir William’s sons. Towards the end he revealed that he hadn’t made one member of our party crack a smile the whole evening, to which the latter responded that he had enjoyed the show, but as Dan noted, just kept his enjoyment to himself. We could have told Dan that he always looks like that.
Our first act was Wendy Wason, whom I’ve seen once before and she’s a thoroughly enjoyable act. She’s bright and breezy, just a little bit posh, and full of confidence as she shares her parenting experiences and a host of middle class neuroses. She had lots of good material involving sex but I was grateful that none of it was too rude; after all, sex humour doesn’t always have to be in the gutter. Last time we saw she was absolutely filthy! She gained an excellent rapport with the crowd and went down very well.
Our second act, in a change to the advertised programme, was Robert White. Mrs C and I have seen Mr White several times and there is possibly no better comic to handle a stag do. I say handle advisedly, as he combines his Asperger Syndrome with his continuous gay double entendres, some of which he converts into on the spot made up songs. At his best Mr White can be unbeatable; and indeed he was last Friday night. He got Sir William up on stage and, after using subterfuge to check out his backside, they shared a joint rendition of I’d Do Anything, where – well you can guess the shenanigans that Sir William agreed to get up to with Mr White. Fortunately, it wasn’t just the stag party who found him fantastic, he gauged the mood of the room perfectly and we were all shaking with laughter. A brilliant set.
Our final act, and also one we’ve seen do successfully many times before, was Nick Wilty. Unfortunately, when Mr White is on fire like he was last Friday, any act that follows him is at a disadvantage, and Mr Wilty’s understated self-deprecating delivery, like Ray Winstone with a headache, just didn’t have the attack required to make an impact. If he and Mr White had swapped places it would have worked so much better, because Mr Wilty’s material is really funny once you “get” his style. We still laughed – but just not as much we’d have liked.
For various inconsequential reasons, we can’t go to another Screaming Blue now until 21st April. You’ve no excuse though – the best value comedy around!