Venue: Kings Barn
by The Henley Standard (M.R)
One of the things we Henley audiences have to live with is the constant assumption that the town is genteel and posh – and having it shoved down our throats by visiting comics.
We got it again from A and E Comedy – an otherwise funny and tight group of stand-ups out from London for the day. It’s either genuine or manufactured for effect but the days of Victoriana and Edwardiana are long gone from this town as they are from everywhere else so can we have a rest from it, please!
And that’s a message to Jeremy Hardy as well who followed the same mantra when he came to the Kenton a few months ago.
Otherwise there were some gems to enjoy from the line-up – not least the compere Adam Preston who played half the evening as a visiting French comedian.
A large nose and floppy hair gave us the spitting image of the French actor Daniel Auteuil. He reflected most of the British prejudices about the French and used them to comment on our own idiosyncrasies. This could offend a lot of people and certainly has legs.
Laura Carr is a young comedienne playing upon the neuroses of women in their early 20s with their insecurities about relationships and appearance. This was accessible to all in the Kings Barn – most of us being middle-aged and beyond – because we’d all been young once. Perhaps some of the language was less accessible – almost never rude but frequently using phrases and terms perhaps not familiar to those over the age of 28. Nevertheless, one to watch.
Don Biswas played upon his professed dyspraxia and autism to get us to laugh along with him – particularly at the way he turns it to advantage. He was also pleased to tell us that we ticked several equality boxes by watching him – he’s Hindu and dyspraxic. And one of a growing band of British-Asian comics making a stir on the circuit.
Mercedes Benson brought us the council estate mother from hell, dressed in hideous blue tracksuit she ran through all the prejudices the middle classes have about the benefit culture. This was funny but should we have felt a degree of discomfort at the way she targeted someone from an environment which shared not a single cultural value with us? Didn’t stop us laughing, though!
One of he night’s delights was Brett Goldstein who tentatively gave us a joke about his Royal Wedding activities while watching the Middleton Sisters, then, realising that we didn’t mind at all, opened into some very explicit but strangely never crude material.