James Acaster’s Represent at the Lyric Theatre- through the lens of jury duty

James Acaster (C) Isabelle Adam
James Acaster (C) Isabelle Adam

Awkward comedian James Acaster finished off his Represent tour with one big gig at London’s Lyric Theatre (where Thriller normally lives- cue various show mix-up jokes) on Monday December 14.

Despite it being a sure success, at times the theatre felt slightly too vast, especially for the more bizarre jokes which didn’t hit with everyone. Interestingly, fellow comedian Nish Kumar was in the stalls and turned out to have a very distinctive and loud laugh- often cracking up Acaster, who explained the pair have the ‘exact same sense of humour’.

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Michael McIntyre – Happy and Glorious tour at Wembley Arena

Playing to his ‘home crowd’ having just travelled just 10 minutes down the road – hilariously, so he said, past all the people who live on the North Circular stuck in their houses – Michael McIntyre brought the house down at Wembley Arena with his new Happy and Glorious tour.

I was worried he wouldn’t be able to match past successes – with jokes that can be referenced with short phrases like ‘five spice’, ‘man drawer’ and ‘no juice’ – but there were still plenty of brilliant moments in there.

Brits on holiday, often a source of embarrassment for fellow tourists, made for a hilarious encore – especially the idea of dads dragging sun umbrellas in circular motions in an attempt to save their kids from the sun.

The well-off comedian’s move to a house in the countryside also proved fruitful, with well-told anecdotes about the absolute pitch black there compared to London and the harrowing noises rural foxes make.

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Why Ventnor?

In case you haven’t heard the fantastic news about Ventnor Exchange check out the news here, but briefly it is a new record shop and studio theatre opening in the next few months as a cultural hub for the Island.

One question it would be fair to ask is: “Why Ventnor?” It’s right at the bottom (or south, to be proper) of the Island and is nowhere near the main town centres of Newport, Cowes and Ryde. The bus services to that half of the Island are less frequent and often complained about, and there isn’t exactly much there for young people in particular to do.

However, Ventnor Fringe has already shown the town’s potential. The August festival, which will this year grow from four to six days long, mixes genres and venues to create an eclectic atmosphere where you can wander around and see what’s on – chances are, you’ll have plenty to choose from at any given time.

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Ventnor Exchange promises to revitalise Island arts scene

There will soon be a new permanent arts space from the team behind the Ventnor Fringe festival, promising to reinvent the Island’s creative scene.

The Ventnor Exchange, located in the town’s old post office, will open in mid-March with a record store open all day until late on Fridays and Saturdays, before a weekday studio theatre is ready in May.

Jack Whitewood, director of the Fringe and Exchange, said: “We want the Ventnor Exchange to be the creative hub of Ventnor and a magnet for those passionate about culture.

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Comedian Bill Burr At The Forum

Photo courtesy of Julian Jensen
Photo courtesy of Julian Jensen

This was only his third professional visit to the UK but Boston comedian Bill Burr quickly sold out three gigs at Kentish Town’s dingy but beautiful The Forum and the atmosphere was buzzing.

Romesh Ranganathan was the unknown factor but well and truly warmed the room with his critical take on vegetarians and vegans despite being one himself, plus a hilarious look at racism from the perspective of an Englishman from Indian descent.

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You Must Be Stoking: Comedy In Guildford

You Must Be Stoking is a  comedy night at The Stoke pub in Guildford, offering a showcase of up-and-comers on the comedy circuit on the first Wednesday of each month.

On Wednesday 6 November, we headed over after Frazer’s mum heard one of the comedians on Radio 2 and subsequent podcasts.

First of all, everyone should definitely get there early enough for dinner beforehand; the pizza from the wood-baked oven is absolutely delicious. Make a night of it.

Over in the function room, we soon met our compere, Paul Kerensa, who has written for Miranda and Not Going Out as well as many other things. We were initially a very tough crowd to warm up, with even a money prize of £1.03 not enough to move people into the front row.

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