I’ve wanted to go the Union Chapel for a while now, but until this weekend had never quite managed to get around to it until this weekend (and in one of those lovely acts of coincidence, I’m actually going back again on Friday, woohoo!).
Because it is a chapel, and a ‘working’ one at that, there is a very different feel to a gig held here than at a traditional comedy club. For one thing, it is such a big (tall) space, that you don’t get the problems of severe over heating that are often experienced in the dingy little basement rooms that a lot of comedy gigs find themselves in in London. Also, although there is a bar, you’re not allowed to bring alcoholic drinks back into the Chapel itself, which creates quite a different dynamic among the audience (and it’s great to see people drinking tea while at an even like this).
Even better, you have to love a venue where you get a live band playing before the acts come on, and during the intervals.
The act itself was the monthly Live at the Chapel comedy night, featuring the obscene (but funny) Phil Kay, the marvellous Pippa Kay (as the stroppy, hardhearted and incredibly funny Loretta Main), that man off the tv Lee Mack, everyone’s favourite drinker of pear flavoured beverages sold in glass bottles Mark Watson and fabulously compered by the joyful Alun Cochrane.
It was a really good night. It’s always slightly scary when Phil Kay comes on stage, because you’re never entirely sure what he’s going to do, but he’s often actually a lot less intimidating than other more ‘regular’ comedians because although he does approach the audience, he only wants minimal input before he’s off doing something else slightly mental (but there is a risk of him jumping off the stage and kissing anything he likes the look of, and the less said about that beer bottle, the better). Pippa Evans was flaunting her probably best known character, Loretta Main, a hard hearted woman looking for love (and unwilling to let it go at any cost) with great songs, and she plays fantastically well in these songs on the difference between Loretta in her usual state (deep voiced, depressed and angry) and Loretta in happy mode (terrifyingly squeeky and pretty and perky).
Lee Mack was around trying out some new material before a big tour that he’s embarking on, and while there a few jokes that fell a little flat there were some marvellous moments as well, and as a proper professional Lee doesn’t let those less successful moments pull the mood down, launching from them into something else that does work instead. Mark Watson took us on a slightly disconnected (but still very funny) ramble, about his current state of mind now that he’s going to be a father, and despite the baby not being born finding himself already making ‘Dad noises’. Although this is a subject that is not exactely the most innovative and new area of story telling, he does it very well, and we were certainly not dissapointed. And coming briefly back to the compere, Mr Alun Chochrane is marvellous, and I’m a huge fan of him, and his dead pan voice, and the way he works the audience but without being too intrusive or scary. And for his excellent way of handling the person who was filming him.
I’ve just realised that this little reivew is stuffed full of brackets (but that’s okay isn’t it? I’m sure you don’t mind).