Thursday 08th December

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Playerist Comedy Night 2 // Poetry Café // Review

| Art, Comedy, Culture, Hidden London, Music, Things to do, Venues | 03/06/2014

Tom Gamble
Tom Gamble

A school night if not for half term, those in the know braved the dullest weather to arrive at a sparkling evening of comedy by Playerist Performance Collective at the Poetry Café.

Jillian Miller

No better start than the fantastic fretwork of maestro Tom Gamble. He enthralled the audience yet again – being begged back from his previous performance. Tom entertained the crowd with diverse numbers ranging from ‘I’ve Got Rhythm’ to his own composition inspired by African kora music, and no less than a Tom Jobim mash-up.

Peter Russell

Patron Jillian Miller did a superb job as compère. The event more than benefited from her witty repartee, to use an over-worked but merited phrase. Jillian soon had us in stitches with a John Cooper Clarke haiku, leading into a highly varied programme. Irish actor Amy McAllister was first up, enunciating several excruciatingly insightful works. These included a plaintive ode to passing commuters, and to love passing by, doubtlessly drawing upon experience as poet-in-residence for Transport for London. Screenwriter Peter Russell considered similar angles on modern living and contemporary culture, siphoning selections from his recent edition ‘Poems about Love, Life and Laughter’. Much laughter indeed.

Amy McAllister and Amy Neilson Smith

Raconteur Denis Quilligan rocked-up and rocked the joint with Charles Bukowski. Hot on the heels, and hot to trot, was his original and clandestine creation, the fabulous yet fateful ‘Claudia’. It was again proving an unmissable occasion. Ms McAllister joined her compatriot Amy Neilson Smith who as ‘Amy + Amy’ created the funniest Q&A session ever, not to mention a rousing and rowdy version of ‘Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off’. Should you think you’ve heard it all, try Chris Sav’s ditty about a low-carb diet and think again. And try staying still in your seat. Imogen Miller Porter closed Act One splendidly, with her biting commentary on certain well-to-do beatniks frequenting the otherwise working-class pockets of the metropolis.

Denis Quilligan

Punters themselves waxed lyrical on the ambience of this friendly and intimate venue – where the drink was flowing all night. Before the show, many savoured a dish or two from the appetising vegetarian menu. The interval afforded a second, and final, opportunity to interact with the terrific art installation created exclusively for Playerist by Mario Herran (with beverages allowed into the Basement performance space…).

Chris Sav

Merriment ensued courtesy Amy Neilson Smith, fresh from her stint as Writer in Residence for the Jersey Arts Trust. She split our sides with her gloriously irreverent solos ‘Head Fuck’ and ‘Chocolate Starfish’. Peter Russell took to the stage with a pertinent proposition on the Arab Spring: How many words rhyme with Mubarak? He exceeded his and our expectations. Back on home ground, Denis Quilligan related an unusual first break into acting – causing a blast then and now. The savvy Mr Sav sang what else but a Metallica-inspired anthem on the merits of floral tempura. His attempted boy-band ‘Chris and the Celeriac’ would, thankfully, palpitate Mr Cowell. Jillian Miller couldn’t let the evening pass without honouring the memory of Maya Angelou. ‘My Younger Days’ raised smiles as well as tears amongst an audience of all ages and backgrounds.

Caroline Archer

If that wasn’t enough… the gorgeous singer-songwriter Caroline Archer provided the perfect cool-down. The house was enraptured by the beautiful playfulness of her husky-yet-sonorous vocalisations. ‘Concrete Corners’ – the first of three unforgettable pieces – was, as always, spellbinding. Encore.

Imogen Miller Porter

The evening was filmed by Alexander McLean, and videos are available on his intriguing YouTube Channel rockyoumentally. Playerist Live is a non-profit platform for emergent and established artistes on the London circuit. If you would like to contribute as a performer or writer please get in touch via

Graphic by Sofia Hagen

 Playerist Poetry Magazine #4 will be launched this autumn. Submissions welcome.

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