Thursday 30th March

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Rachel Parris: “I was a bit nervous about the Samaritans seeing the show. I didn’t want them to think I was laughing at what they do.”

Tomorrow night, Rachel Parris gives the first of three performances of award-winning show Best Laid Plans at Soho Theatre this week.  Ahead of her run, she spoke to Ian Cater about break-ups, the curse of ‘niceness’ and fictitious twat bankers.   

Persuading you to go and see Rachel Parris this week at Soho Theatre should be an easy sell.

The talented comedian, singer, musician and actress is very much on an upwards trajectory, increasing her profile with each comedy gig, acting job and improv appearance she juggles across the country.  Parris’ voice – straight out of the West End – has long been her strongest suit, but her stand-up skills and confidence are catching up.  Her latest show, Best Laid Plans, showcases these superbly and earned Parris our Best Musical Comedy Act Award for 2016.

Despite her natural modesty, she describes the show’s current incarnation as “hopefully even better”.  Boosted by Soho Theatre’s atmospheric cabaret room and grand piano, perhaps even Parris is starting to believe in herself.

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Category: Comedy
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The Dan Band: Live at The Garage, Highbury, 1st November 2016

After all of last night’s tricks, Londoners are in for a treat tonight with top musical comedian Dan Finnerty bringing The Dan Band to the UK for the first time.  Finnerty, who made his name in Old School and The Hangover, is performing his live show at The Garage for one night only.  Head along to Highbury to see why his earnestly sweary style is so loved by the great and good of US entertainment, including Steven Spielberg, Jay Leno and Nicole Scherzinger.

Ahead of the show, Ian Cater spoke to Finnerty about his unexpected journey into musical comedy, awkward wedding experiences and hopes for a future collaboration with Bonnie Tyler.  

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Category: Comedy
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James Wilson-Taylor: Ginger Is The New Black, 1st – 5th November 2016 at Leicester Square Theatre

Ah, Autumn.  The ground matted with crisp, ocher leaves that release a congenial crunch and create a copper-coloured carpet.  Early sunsets dye the sky blood-red and enflame wisps of cloud freckling the planet.  An urban fox – painted from the edges of its ears to the tip of its tail in rich, titian pelt – hides in the undergrowth, nibbling at a discarded … erm, Solero.  This seasonal scene provides the perfect backdrop for James Wilson-Taylor to return to Leicester Square Theatre with his new show, Ginger Is The New Black, between 1st and 5th November 2016.  

As with his previous successes – Bat-Fan and I Need a Doctor: The Whosical, Wilson-Taylor unravels a tightly-written night of entertaining songs, stand-up comedy and pleasing pop culture references all delivered in his warm, relaxed style.  However, this show marks a slight change of tack, using the stage to stand up for his carrot-topped kin.  And that’s not all.  As he told Ian Cater, Wilson-Taylor’s also making his fellow gingers an offer they can’t refuse.

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Category: Comedy
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The Beards: Farewell Tour, 19th October 2016 at Scala – Q&A

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Australian comedy folk rock band The Beards are deep into their Farewell European Tour, before calling it a day after 11 years together.  In that time, Johann Beardraven, Facey McStubblington, John Beardman Jr and Nathaniel Beard have grown a large cult following with their ‘Bearded Songs for Bearded People’.  

Despite their seemingly niche appeal, The Beards have achieved a fair degree of commercial success along the way, most notably with their 2012 album, Having a Beard is the New Not Having a Beard, and its 2014 follow-up The Beard Album.  However, they’re most renowned for their raucous and charismatic live performances, so London is lucky to be hosting The Beards for the last time tomorrow, Wednesday 19th October 2016

Ahead of the gig at Scala (N1) from 19.30, we spoke to bass guitarist Nathaniel Beard about the band’s origins, inspiration and reasons for bowing out now.

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Category: Comedy
© Jessica Verma
© Jessica Verma

Baby Wants Candy: Thrones! The Musical Parody review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

The latest production from US comedians Baby Wants Candy is a fun, crude and entertaining tribute to Game of Thrones, with plenty of tits and dragons.

Warning: as with the musical, this review contains some GoT spoilers.

Like its televisual inspiration, Thrones! The Musical doesn’t take itself too seriously.  That much is clear from the opening number, which bluntly tells those who prefer George R.R. Martin’s books to leave now.  Because of that, it can recognise the TV show’s flaws upfront without committing sacrilege: “So many plot lines quickly end in disaster, although the blonde-girl-in-the-desert one could go a lot faster.”

We then cut to an apartment, where recently divorced Lesley admits to her friends that she’s never seen the hit HBO series.  Although initially horrified (“No wonder he left you!”), the friends agree to act out GoT to show her what she’s missing.

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Category: Comedy
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Spencer Jones: Eggy Bagel review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Jones produces one of the quirkiest and most enjoyable shows of the Fringe, using a range of props and oddball charm to simple and childish effect.

From the moment he appears on a stage crowded with a weird and wonderful litany of props, it’s apparent that Spencer Jones is a delightful oddball.  There’s a toilet brush, a headless doll, a framed portrait and a host of other odds and sods spilling out of suitcases surrounding his mixing deck.  Jones is dressed in a fluorescent yellow jacket with ludicrous shoulder pads, and white leggings which begin to inflate.  His pudding bowl haircut is all askew as he grins manically, looking like Duncan Bannatine after a breakdown.  Then he goes to the microphone and – using a looper – creates the first of many incredibly catchy tunes to provide the backdrop to his next bout of lunacy.

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Category: Comedy
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Rachel Parris: Best Laid Plans review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Parris neatly combines her warm brand of self-deprecating stand-up with expertly performed and hilarious songs in Best Laid Plans.

Before seeing Best Laid Plans, I knew Rachel Parris mainly as a musical comedian, standing at the piano belting out funny songs with the powerful voice of a West End star.  So I was intrigued when she said this show would lean more towards stand-up.  Could Parris perform 35+ minutes of compelling spoken comedy without diluting her main strength?  The answer – thankfully – is yes, as she delivers an extremely entertaining and versatile performance.

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Category: Comedy
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Isy Suttie: The Actual Book Tour, 15th – 27th August at Soho Theatre

Former Peep Show star Isy Suttie is back with a new live show, The Actual Book Tour, which warmly and hilariously discusses her journey towards finding the right man and finally – if a little reluctantly – becoming an adult.  Ahead of its 12-night run at Soho Theatre starting on 15th August, she caught up with Ian Cater to discuss parenthood, internet dating, giant penguins and ball pits.

On Monday, Isy Suttie starts the next leg of The Actual Book Tour with the show – coinciding with the publication of her first book, The Actual One – already receiving gushing reviews for understandable reasons.

Suttie’s an extremely talented, funny and versatile performer, first coming to fame as Dobby in Series 5 to 9 of seminal sitcom Peep Show.  In the show, she showcases many of these talents, intertwining songs, stand-up and book readings documenting her awkward journey on the way to finding Mr Right.

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Category: Comedy