Leicester Comedy Festival review: CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation at the Y Theatre

 

The Chandeliers Crime Scene Improvisation

Review by Sofia Luis-Hobbs

A locksmith, murdered by a teddy bear… can it get more random than that?

When the audience set the occupation and method of death in this murder-mystery improv play, I was sure the show was going to flop. ‘There’s no way they can make this work,’ I thought to myself, but lo and behold – they did.

It all began with the Chandeliers – the company behind Crime Scene Improvisation – encouraging people to get involved, getting the crowd to shout out suggestions for the victim’s name, their profession and method of death.

Some random suggestions were made that’s for sure, like death by cabbage and for the victim to be working as a stripper. But we settled on a locksmith by the name of Sybil Sherlock who died at the paws of a teddy bear.

Yes, that’s right – a teddy bear.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘how on earth could anyone by murdered by a teddy bear?’ But the Chandeliers didn’t just make it work, they had the audience in hysterics at the sheer randomness that was unfolding before them.

Read more: See our Leicester Comedy Festival reviews here.

Of course it wouldn’t be an improv performance without there being a few forgotten details or lines that end unexpectedly, but this didn’t put a damper on the performance, it instead added to its comedic value as the group swiftly deal with these hiccups and keep the scenes moving despite any bumps along the journey.

The Chandeliers are no doubt masters in their field and come together like clockwork as a group to put on a wonderfully weird and unique performance every time.

A highlight of shows like this one is that every night is different, meaning you could watch them back to back and there would be a different murder mystery for them to solve each time – I’m sure some are weirder than the rest, but I have no doubt that each will be as beautifully executed as the last.

Leicester Comedy Festival review: Eric Rushton at Manhattan 34

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Review by Sofia Luis-Hobbs

The name of Eric Rushton’s show had me feeling like I’d guessed what was coming even before I’d even set foot in the venue.

After all, you’d expect a routine called Convict to be brimful of jokes about jail and inmates, right?

Wrong.

As Rushton stood before us in an orange jumpsuit with a prison number scribbled on with permanent marker, he revealed the real plot of the show – he’s not in a real nick, instead he’s imprisoned within his own mind.

Original, dark and intriguing, this show isn’t for the snowflakes among us.

Juggling topics like mental health and being on the dole, he manages to tastefully tackle these subjects whilst still being sufficiently crude to keep up with his on-stage persona.

Making reference to the gym being a helpful tool to aid mental health, he turns his own workouts into an on-stage commentary of why people are really go there.

“Oi! Guys on the treadmills, what are you really running from?” he shouts to the back of the room, maintaining this stance of males being closed off when it comes to their emotions, and that gym is cheaper than therapy.

Rushton’s blunt and sarcastic tone consistent throughout the performance made this show even more enjoyable – especially when he starts talking about relationships and break-ups.

The moments when we weren’t sure if he was joking or being serious were comic in themselves.

Lingering on the ways different people deal with break-ups, comparing some to getting fired off of the Apprentice with a simple ‘thanks for your time’ kind of vibe to the more persistent ones. These persistent ones being like rejected X-Factor contestants with remarks like: “I’ll prove you wrong,” or funnier yet, “would you prefer me as part of a group?”

Rushton’s crude sense of humour proved the highlight, but he mixed it with just enough elements of dark comedy to be the perfect recipe for a stand-up show. He’s definitely one to watch.

But a word too, for Damon Conlan, who opened the show with a satirical magic act involving some tricks gone wrong.

From getting audience members up with him, to getting another to go to the bar to grab him some crisps as a prop for the rest of the performance, Conlan’s brilliant act was light-hearted, easy to watch and full of laughs.

Leicester Comedy Festival review: BBC Radio Leicester Presents… at the Cosy Club

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Review by Olivia Maclaughlin

In a line-up that boasted of Leicester Comedy Festival’s international reach and recognition, the Cosy Club hosted the final of three shows put on by BBC Radio Leicester.

For the past two Tuesdays, The A Show has offered a mixed bill of handpicked comedians but in this week’s show, the comedians came from far and wide.

The show, which ran for 120 minutes, was split into two. One half being the funny, laugh-filled 60 minutes and the next being a more informative question and answer, all live on air.

It was hosted by Alex Hylton, whose voice sounded as though he smokes 20 a day, and the audience was instantly entertained.

As he introduced the line-up to the crowd, and fired off some jokes about disgraced MPs, it was easy to see why the laughter started and didn’t stop.

Up first was Zenjiro, from Japan, who told of the woes of learning English with Pulp Fiction. He struggled at times to hold the attention of the audience and there were moments that fell flat, but he pulled it back with a routine about the linguistic differences between Japan, China and Korea.

Hailing from Montreal, Pascal Cameron connected with the crowd with dry, dark humour that was tamed down for this side of the BBC watershed. He slipped up just a couple of times, but that made his set all the better.

Micky Overman, from Amsterdam, was the only woman in the bill and made sure to leave an impression. She commanded the stage, winning over both her female audience and the male one too with quick-witted jokes about libido and sex along with ditching the padded bra. Easily the stand-out stand-up of the night.

Leicester Comedy Festival review: Tez Ilyas and more at A Latte Laughs with Esquires Coffee

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A Latte Laughs with Esquires Coffee in Leicester was a good night led by Tez Ilyas (Mock The Week, The Last Leg), who told us what’s about to happen. In an audience we had kids, pianist, teachers, pharmacist, driving instructor, IT guy and me  – all of us were expecting an unforgettable night. Let’s see how it worked out.

First up is Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Bilal Zafar, who tells us his story about dating apps. He starts with Tinder and says it didn’t work. He makes an upgrade to Bumble app. Once more, it’s a failure. Then he uses Minder, an app for Muslims. And you know what? It didn’t work again. Poor Bilal. He can’t find a girlfriend, and also his comedy couldn’t find a good way to amuse. Maybe next time.

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The second comedian holds my attention from the beginning to the end. Carly Smallman is a “bundle of energy” according to the Sun, and so it proves. There is no boredom with Carly. She’s a woman of action, she talks a lot and at the same time, she shares her energy with everyone. She loves dogs. “With a dog in the park is like with a child on the playground: you have to talk to another child’s parent even if you don’t want to. It’s the same with a dog. Every trip for a walk leads to an awkward conversation with any random dog owner,” she says.

Like Bilal, she also mentions her Tinder experience. She’s trying to understand the ‘d*ck pic’ phenomena but there’s no logical solution to the puzzle. “As you’re already sending such a photo, can you do us a favour and put a 50 pence coin next to it,” she says. As an icing on the cake, she sings us a love song, of sorts. “My soulmate is out there and I know, he’s waiting for me… Every single day he buys me flowers, then goes down on me for hours… I don’t really care if you voted for Brexit, as long as you feel ashamed about it.”

The last and a special guest was Scott Bennett, who tells a story spun from his experience of the parent-child relationship.

He stresses how much he loves his toddlers, but also complains about being a parent, as it’s “a lack of freedom.” One of his daughters is six. “On the swimming pool she’s three, on the bus she’s four. You know what I mean,” he says, pointing out the parents in the audience.

He mentions a birthday card from his daughter with a huge ‘for my favourite dad’ on the front. At the same time, he starts wondering how many of them could be. He is very energetic man. He has the strength of persuasion, thanks to which I almost believed that his second daughter lives in a room size of a box. I’ve seen him twice at this year’s festival, and both of performances were special and very funny.

 

 

 

 

Leicester Comedy Festival review: Suck Seed at Wygston’s House

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Review by Emily Barker

Two comedians walk into a bar; quite literally.

And I’m not far behind them. Climbing the haunted-looking staircase of Wygston’s House, I take a seat in the smallest venue that I’ve been in for the comedy festival among  perhaps the smallest audience to date. But for a rather tiny congregation of people, it’s a fairly loud event.

Jo Dexter and Gaëlle Constant, who tag-team their way through the show, tell us that Suck Seed is about their success stories, or much rather not-so-success stories.

Constant opens the show, introducing herself by running up the aisle and getting the crowd revved up for what’s to follow.

But perhaps the audience could have used a little more revving. Rutlander Dexter opens her segment of the show by bigging up Leicester, to which the crowd responds with silence, until Jo cajoles them to cheer for their hometown. Everyone from Leicester must own a chippy, she tells us, as she frequently hears people saying that they’re going to batter them. 

Dexter has an easy-going charm, taking her life stories and turning them into jokes that win ready laughs from the audience.

She complains her mattress makes more noise than she does during sex, and that it sounds like that’s having more fun than her. She also says her eyes got divorced 17 years ago and that they’re still fighting for the house, and that they’re borrowed from the prop department of Sesame Street.

Belgian stand-up Constant returns to the stage moments later, and things look promising to begin, with self-deprecating jokes about seeing herself as French if she says something rude or does something wrong.

But her act dwells on her family, and porn. How many times can we hear “my dad is a pornographer” before we get bored? The answer: not many.

It’s not all negative. Her line about money – “I have it, I spend it, if not I just eat bread” – rang true as a struggling student. She thinks d*** pics should be like art; something she can put on her wall. Almost like ‘Where’s Willy?’, she says. And she showed us a poster for an erotic film. In my eyes, it was a pretty cool idea.

It seems apparent that her whole segment was about porn, whether she tried for it not to be or not. The show itself was rated 16 plus, but it should maybe be 18 plus for the mature content on both parts.

Overall, for a show charging £5 for tickets delivered exactly what I was expecting; amateur comedy. With some sketches being funnier than others, each comedian earned a few laughs from the audience members and seemed to impress those in the room.

I may not go see this duo again, it wasn’t for me, but if you like slightly vulgar yet relatable comedy, this will be right up your street.