Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 22nd March 2019

Screaming Blue MurderAnother packed house for 2-and-a-half hours of fun courtesy of the Screaming Blue Murder team – the best value comedy in town. This season’s dates have been rather spread apart which means that when the next show comes around, you’re really in the mood for it. And that was all too evident this week as the audience were really up for a good time and, if I may so myself, as an audience, we were all pretty terrific.

Dan EvansWe welcomed our usual host Dan Evans, his three amazing guests and, as ever, his two sumptuous intervals. This week Dan ended up talking to Liz and John from Earl’s Barton – the crowd couldn’t decide whether to be sniffy about them or jealous of them; the jovial man who runs the Northampton auction house (I recognised him from my auctioning days), and the front row girls who were all one-upping each other (“I’ve got a house” “well at least I’ve got a baby” etc). He handled it all with his usual remarkable bonhomie.

Paul PirieThis was one of those great nights of comedy when you’ve seen all the acts before so you more or less know what’s coming but they were all on such cracking form that they all surprised you with their excellence. First up was Paul Pirie, whom – I have to say – we didn’t really enjoy much when we saw him here way back in 2012. However, this time he was rip-roaring sensational. He bombasts you with a ton of brilliant silly observations with a very powerful delivery, interspersed with some genuinely wacky and funny voices. He’s not one of those comics who give you thoughtful material for your brain to continue to peruse for the next few days; he’s a wham-bam thank you ma’am sort of chap – blame the Red Bull. His set was jam-packed with material, most of which I can’t remember because it was so “of the moment”; although I do remember he said he failed RE at school; which is about as impossible as failing lunch.

Karen BayleyNext up, and another favourite, was Karen Bayley. It’s been a few years since we’ve seen Ms Bayley, and, although it’s still largely the same I’m a cougar watch out young man routine that she always gives, the passage of time meant that it still felt fresh and really funny. She did build up a fantastic rapport with the audience – and not just the women this time, which makes an enjoyable change. You sense that though her material is bawdy, deep down she’s probably quite sensitive and polite, which creates a curiously interesting stage persona. Very funny indeed.

Roger MonkhouseHeadlining on Friday night was Roger Monkhouse, whom we’ve also seen a few times now and who has cultivated a young fogey personality. He has a terrifically self-deprecating tone and uses it to great advantage with some rather savage observations about life and relationships, whilst dipping into the inevitable horrors of politics. His material is always solid and on the ball, and he too went down tremendously in the hall.

One of those occasions where it all came together, with host, guests and audience all on top form. Seven weeks to wait until the next one. Seven!! That’s mental cruelty.

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground at the Derngate, Northampton, 2nd May 2014

Kevin DewsburyAnother very packed audience to see the penultimate Screaming Blue Murder comedy night for this season. Regular host Dan Evans was absent this time, so we were able to welcome Cheshire’s very own Kevin Dewsbury, whom we have seen a couple of times hosting here before and also his excellent Out Now show in Leicester earlier this year. Kevin has an instantly likeable personality the moment he gets on stage and you know you’re in safe hands. He quickly achieves a very good rapport with the crowd, and amongst his material he did his wonderful routine about speaking foreign words as though you are a native speaker of that foreign language – something I’ve been guilty of ever since Pamela Stephenson as Angela Rippon talked of Mr Mooogaaaabay’s gayreeellllaaas. I also love his putting-foot-in-it St Patrick’s Day routine.

Paul PirieFirst act up was Paul Pirie, who we have seen before and, frankly, on that occasion I didn’t enjoy his routine at all. He was crude without being funny, and very noisy – to the extent that his voice jarred on the microphone. This time he was massively better. His voice does still have a timbre to it that grates my eardrum, but his material, which mainly centres on his endlessly difficult relationship with his wife really hit my funnybone. I particularly liked his stuff about getting home drunk – not that I have any experience of that of course. Very good indeed – I’d just like him to deliver it all just a bit more quietly that’s all!

Fern BradySecond, and in a change to our advertised programme, we had Fern Brady, who was new to us. She had a nice sense of the ridiculous, with her excellent routine about foxes, but her generally downbeat persona slightly sapped the energy left over by Paul Pirie. Nevertheless, she had good material, and went down well with the audience.

Jonny AwsumHeadlining was Jonny Awsum, with a surname like that he just has to be funny, no? He looks like a cross between Neil Morrissey and a friend of ours (who you won’t know, sorry) and he definitely spices things up with great attack and a very open, happy nature. He’s a man with a guitar and not afraid to use it, and we really enjoyed the way he involved the audience with his singing along – including making orgasmic noises to rhythm – including his very funny parody of Take That’s Back for Good. It was a very good way to finish off the evening and I am sure he was everyone’s favourite act of the night.

Only one more Screaming Blue to go now before the long, sad summer months!

Review – Screaming Blue Murder, Underground, Derngate, Northampton, 16th March 2012

Dan EvansGreat to see yet another very full house for the regular Screaming Blue Murder comedy club last Friday. Our compere was Dan Evans, on excellent form again, and getting us well warmed up with his interaction with the front rows. We were quite a lively bunch last Friday, so there was plenty of material for him to juggle with. I’m enjoying the way Dan now introduces new material with a crestfallen sigh as if to pave the way for its unsuccessful response – it’s becoming a very funny new theme for his compering!

Paul Pirie Our first act was Paul Pirie. When I was getting the pre-show drinkies in, Paul Pirie was also at the bar, ordering a couple of drinks in a softly spoken and self-effacing manner. What a nice, unassuming and polite person he seemed, I thought. How different from his act! Aggressive and vulgar, the vast majority of his material seemed to concentrate on the more unpleasant bodily fluids and emissions, joking about people with disabilities, and doing to death each scenario he described with repeated sound effects. If he made a screaming noise to accompany, say, a stabbing action, he would do it about eight times, until he, and I, were exhausted with it. Additionally there was something wrong with his microphone, which meant that his voice was piercing and grating and went right through my brain. I spent his entire act with my right forefinger pressed on my eardrum. This act and I didn’t mix. However, in the interest of fairness, I have to say that the majority of the younger people in the audience found him hilarious.

Sunna JarmanAlas, the same could not be said for our second act, Sunna Jarman. She started very promisingly but for some reason could not quite hit her stride. I think she needs to strengthen her comic persona; she has some – very funny – lines that equate to her being a bit of a posh bird, and I think if she created some more snobbish material she could be much funnier. Even with her act going a bit wobbly, I still found her more entertaining than Paul Pirie. However, about seven minutes into her act, she was saying something detrimental about Katie Price (personally I have no problem with that), when she received a devastating heckle to the effect that at least Katie Price tells better jokes. Unfortunately, I don’t think she heard what the heckler said properly, so she ignored it; but the audience all heard it and basically agreed with it – and thus she was lost from then on. I’m pretty sure she cut and ran shortly afterwards.

Steve DayFortunately in came the cavalry to rescue the evening in the form of our final act, Steve Day. We’ve seen him here before a couple of years ago, and he is fantastically entertaining. He is deaf, and most of his material is based on being a deaf person in a hearing world, but it’s never sentimental or self-pitying, preachy or defensive. Some very insightful comedy about discrimination within disabilities, plus also some generally offbeat observations about families – and windfarms. So many great lines, I won’t spoil them by repeating them; but he is a superb comic as his massive reception at the end testified and you must catch him if you possibly can.