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Blog: Leicester Comedy Festival

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Steve and I were in Leicester at the weekend for our FIFTH successive comedy festival, back once again at The Criterion. As usual we had a bunch of EXCELLENT students from DeMontfort University running the venue for us as part of their Arts Management degree, and we had a few RETURNEES this year, singing songs from previous shows. It was LOVELY!

We had about 30 people in on both nights, which was LOWER than normal, but MAY be because we were also starting an hour earlier than normal. Or it may just be that after five years people know what to expect, and know to AVOID! Also of course it WAS a "work in progress" version rather than one we'd been touring all year, so it might also be due to not having done Edinburgh beforehand this time. To be honest, it didn't really matter as we had MARVELLOUS audiences on both nights who LARFED and even, a little bit, sang along.

The first night got off to a bit of a ROPEY start, but after 10 minutes or so we'd calmed down sufficiently to do it justice, and the second night was much better throughout, with new BITS and LARKING ABOUT. It really helped to have had run through of LINES on the train on the way up - doing all the previews so far in London means we've been denied this ESSENTIAL bit of LEARNING this year, so it was nice to be back in the swing with it.

The odd thing I noticed both nights is that there's big chunks which can go by without LARFS, but that it doesn't really matter. In other shows it's been NOTICEABLE when we've hit GAG FREE sections, but this time, astonishingly, the actual STORY seems to carry it through. Who'd've thought?

There was plenty of fun aside from the show - starting early meant we had LOTS more time for lurking around BOOZING and CHATTING, which we did both nights with various CHUMS, and we also took the opportunity to see a certain FAMOUS CAR PARK. Readers from The Distant Future: last week it was revealed that Richard III had been buried underneath a car park in the city for several hundred years, so we went to LOOK and LO! you could see through the rails EXACTLY where trench had been, as they'd covered it over with fresh tarmac. That was a Polite Notice on the railings pointing out that there was no access, pointing people back over towards the Guild Hall where a new exhibition had JUST opened and had a MASSIVE queue outside. It was all JOLLY exciting.

I also went to the PICTURES i.e. doing some HOMEWORK. When I rolled up "Hitchcock" was just about to start, so I watched that. It was Really Quite Good: REVIEW ENDS.

And that was pretty much that - a rather nice weekend in my former home town which ended up with a VERY TIRED me (and Steve) staggering onto the Sunday morning train to London, where we bumped into TWO seperate people who'd been audience members AND saw a noted comedian. It was a suitably PAL-FULL end to a very CHUMMY weekend, where it felt like there was a real BUZZ around the town. I've noticed this the past few years - the Comedy Festival is becoming more and more of a PROPER BIG THING, probably partly down to the sponsorhip by Dave, but it also feels like the people of Leicester, never exactly QUICK to get onside with Going To See Things, are taking it to their collective BOSOM and seeing it as an opportunity for GOOD TIMES. Long may this continue!

posted 12/2/2013 by MJ Hibbett

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