Another socially-distanced hand-sanitised Covid comedy night at the Sosh. And a good thing too. And indeed all the comics do stuff about Covid in their set, which helps a lot in these weird times.
Laughter, the best medicine, as Readers Digest used to say (though not perhaps for erectile dysfunction, as Jo Brand once said). I digress.
First up is Susan Murray, sparky comic from the West Midlands but with a Scots family. Which gives rise to plenty of fun with accents. Murray is one of those comics you might describe as hard-bitten, with much in the set about her seemingly debauched lifestyle, and she addresses the audience as though we too are total alcoholics.
It works; white wine is suddenly on a par with crack cocaine, and the crowd, now made complicit in naughtiness, roar with laughter. That’s her take on Covid, too: what do you do in lockdown? Drink, of course. All this delivered with much raucous banter with the audience and the raunchy gags come thick and fast.
Next we have two local newcomers to the scene. First, Matthew Alford, a large chap dressed in black with a T-shirt featuring the Kray twins. He’s not a gangster; he has a PhD: though the comparative employment prospects with Bosnian war criminals that this gives him does feature, among other oddball stuff, in a short, confidently-delivered, and original set. Natasha Bye has a PhD too, but she’s a scientist, and there’s some interesting stuff about the sexual life of fungi. And why she kept her surname after marriage; it seems since primary school she’s managed to convince people that local laws are named after her. This along with other advice on how to cope with lockdown made for a very amusing set. Both of these may not give up the day job yet, but there’s certainly promise that one day they might.
Arthur Smith, who is very much an oldcomer, finishes the evening with an apparently rambling but beautifully-timed set, with a very left-field approach to comedy involving such things as trying to tell a joke in French and getting an audience member to do simultaneous translation – which turns out totally hilarious. There’s scabrous and well-received comments about current government ministers. There are some avowedly very old, but still funny jokes. There’s reminiscence about his dad. There’s a bit of Leonard Cohen singing, and even poetry from Dryden. But the whole thing holds together wonderfully in a virtuoso display from an old master of comedy.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Reviewer: John Christopher Wood | Star rating: ****
The Bath Comedy Club Night at Widcombe Social Club is being held fortnightly. Find out more here.