Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 27th April 2018

Screaming Blue MurderAnother Screaming Blue Murder at the Royal and Derngate which is a good thing because you can’t have too many of them. At first it looked as though we were going to be a little understocked audience-wise, but shortly before it started a cavalcade of fresh punters arrived and filled all the front rows. Good for you guys!

Maureen YoungerWe knew that regular MC Dan Evans was taking a sabbatical this week so who would be our stand-in stand-up host? Step up to the line Maureen Younger, whom we loved last year in the Upfront Comedy Show at the Royal. Maureen certainly knows how to knock a rabble together. She’s delightfully in-your-face, no-holds-barred and takes-no-prisoners when it comes to finding out about the night’s clientele. She concentrated on twin-on-his-own Matt, who had been segregated from the rest of his group, poor lamb, but also encountered posh Chloe, some teachers, Frank the Dutchman, and… Mrs Chrisparkle and me. Dan knows better than to engage us in conversation thank heavens, but Maureen gave us what for in her usual badinage-filled way. Fortunately she got more out of Mrs C than me and ended up likening her to an EastEnders-type bouncer. You had to be there.

Robin MorganFirst up was a new face to us, Robin Morgan, a fresh-faced young chap with bags of vitality and lots of good material about being a new dad, getting married, being the only guy at kiddies’ playgroup – fairly standard comedy fayre but he did it all with great humour and a nice turn of phrase. I loved his stuff about being a meal deal fanatic, and how when you’re planning a family you have to have sex pre-programmed into your phone. He’s bright and funny in a preppy kind of way. Unfortunately Matt’s twin Steve was looking distinctly unamused by one brief sequence, and Mr Morgan allowed himself to be slightly psyched out by his reaction and he never quite regained the room as a result. But he was very good and I would certainly look forward to seeing him again.

Naomi CooperOur second act was someone else we’d not seen before – that never happens! This was Naomi Cooper, who’d just been to see her mum in Bletchley. She also had plenty of good material about dealing with parents, including that thing where they always give you something unexpected and useless when you leave. The majority of her set, though, was about sex and ex-boyfriends; by the sound of it, she’s had a lot of both! An enjoyable gig; there were times when I felt her stage authority just waned a little, but everyone enjoyed it. The somewhat questionable last joke made us feel a little uncomfortable, and we’re no prudes! (I’ll say no more).

Nick DoodyLast up was Nick Doody, whom we’ve seen twice before and is normally a safe pair of hands. He started off a little slowly but when he got into his stride was really top notch. We loved his characterisation of a polyglot Dutch infant – yes, you read that right. Normally audiences don’t respond very well here in Northampton to political humour – we’re not that sophisticated really – but he nailed it with his observations of our Great Beloved National Political Leaders (yeah right). Once he’d finished with politics, he ended up with (and forgive me, gentle reader) wanking, (as a subject matter, I mean) which was absolutely brilliant. He also mercilessly took the mick out of the drunk old lady sat in front of us. That could have gone horribly wrong but was hysterical. A great way to end the evening.

Another really enjoyable night of Screaming Blues! Next one is on 11th May – we can’t go, but that’s no reason for you not to!

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground, Derngate, Northampton, 5th October 2012

Dan EvansWe’re well into this autumn’s season of Screaming Blue Murders at the Derngate, and as usual our compere was Dan Evans, giving us some good new material as well as a few old favourites, and most of it worked pretty well. Dan’s job is to get us all in the mood and to explore a few possibilities with the audience which he always does superbly. When he announced he was selling his book outside at the end, it received a “NOT AGAIN!” from a lady who I think had done precisely the same heckle last year. And she still hasn’t bought a copy.

Joe LycettIt was a real quality trio of comics this week, two of whom were new to us. First up, and one of our newbies, was Joe Lycett. The bastard lovechild, if such a thing were possible, of Julian Clary and Kenneth Williams his act is very camp and very funny. He starts off with the slightly threatening chatting up of guys in the front row but wisely uses that as a base to spin off onto other punchy material, rather than dwelling on it too long. He had excellent observations about being a hypochondriac, and his act ends with a funny account of an email exchange after appearing on a TV programme. Quite a lot of f***s and c***s in that account, but it added to the ridiculousness of the material.

Nick DoodyNick Doody was our second comic, and he started his act with an awful lot of c*** words. One knows that “less is sometimes more”; this was a very good example of how more can be very much less. We thought his act started very slowly, which was odd as I remember him being excellent throughout when we saw him last time. For some reason he didn’t tap into the general mood. However, as the old cliche would have it, it was a game of two halves; for his final fifteen minutes or so were brilliant, ending up with a nightmare account of how Margaret Thatcher is still held in high esteem in some circles, which was very telling and hard-hitting; and with which he completely redeemed himself in my eyes.

Ian MooreOur final act was Ian Moore, and he was just superb. He didn’t have to put on any persona, he didn’t have to swear a lot, he didn’t run round maniacally. He just relied on really funny original material that covered the kind of situations we can all recognise – and as a result he had the audience in the palm of his hand. Highlights that I can remember include fresh observations of travelling Ryanair; environmentally friendly light bulbs; and the enmity between brothers of different nationalities. Absolutely brilliant stuff. Best act we’ve seen at Screaming Blue Murder for a long time.

I ended up having a little chat to Dan again after the show about how it went. I think I’m becoming his customer liaison representative; or a counsellor. There could be some money in this.

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Derngate, Northampton, 26th November

Angie McEvoySo for the second time, the Screaming Blue Murder was held on a Friday and there was barely a seat available. And what a terrific line up it was, probably the most consistently funny show of all of these we have seen.

Our compere (presumably last minute as not as billed online) was in fact a commere, Angie McEvoy. This gave the whole evening a distinct flavour of its own. Her style is rather quiet and laid back, whereas all the other acts were hi-energy fast and furious types, so it made for a good contrast. She did some great gags, including making up to the 18 year old boy in the front row and suggesting he took her up to her bedroom where she would give his room such a tidy. Halfway through the evening she got a major heckle which she handled brilliantly.

Chris MartinFirst act was Chris Martin, who we have seen before. I remembered some of his routine but not all, and I’m sure he did a lot of new stuff. Very funny, the kind of guy you easily identify with, very confident, made it look effortless.

Nick Doody Second was Nick Doody who I think was my favourite of the night, I loved his routines about not having children, or maybe you would if you could give them back no strings attached within three years; his humour completely struck a chord with me and I loved it.

Simon FoxLast was Simon Fox, who played more of a persona but was still excellent, involving balloons and the banjo but still being really funny. He must have run through the best part of 500 jokes in forty minutes.

One more of these shows before Christmas, looking forward to it!