Comedians raise money and awareness for festival
AS a fundraiser and an awareness raiser for the Slapstick Festival, it was unfortunate that when closing the night, compere Marcus Brigstocke, pictured, read out the dates and the highlights of the event that happened in January.
So let's get the correct details out of the way first: next year's Slapstick Festival takes place in Bristol at the Colston Hall and other venues between January 23 and 27, 2013. Visit www.slapstick.org.uk for more information.
Barry Cryer is such a fan of the festival that he always takes part in several events. On Sunday night, he wore a commemorative Slapstick T-shirt as he performed a few comedy songs with Ronnie Golden, the best of which was a number sung in Spanish by Golden with a simultaneous translation by Cryer, which ended with a reference to eggs and Basques.
Rory Bremner was the headliner of Sunday evening's show, from a line-up handpicked by Graeme Garden, but the impressionist certainly was not the highlight. His political commentary does not have the bite of old, and he more often than not reverted to voices from a bygone era, such as Michael Howard and David Blunkett. Snooker commentator Ted Lowe's commentary on the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden was, however, inspired.
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Brigstocke, last seen in Bristol on the Hippodrome stage earlier this year in Spamalot, began the evening with some well-aimed barbs at Jimmy Carr, showing that there is certainly no love lost between the pair. When the Bristol University graduate was not telling us about the time he rollerbladed down Park Street, he also took some amusing potshots at Bath and its residents, and shared his anger about train announcements.
Arthur Smith ("not Aerosmith") did his usual Grumpy Old Men routine, and seemed genuinely proud that some members of the audience knew him from his column in Diabetes UK magazine. With England vs Italy clashing with this gig, Smith's mind seemed elsewhere. But who could blame him?
While Smith was missing the football, Lucy Porter joked that she was having a rare night away from her two children, both under two, and was not missing them at all. Much of her set involved reading out customer reviews of products on the Argos website, which gave away more about the life of the reviewer than the product they were reviewing.
Comedian and playwright Boothby Graffoe impressed the most out of the acts, and also produced the first laugh from an audience I have ever heard using a guitar and a loop pedal. He later caused the same audience to collectively jump out of their seats by singing what initially seemed to be a soothing lullaby and ended suddenly with a loud shot of "go to sleep!".
Graffoe told the joke of the night, too: "We had a horse-drawn wedding, which was a disaster. We should have got a photographer." He was also the only comic who properly interacted with the audience, devoting one of his songs to Jackie the stay-at-home mum, or was it Chesty the satanist?
Just to confirm, Slapstick Festival 2013 takes place between January 23 and 27.