Bay Citee Molars
Ben Van Der Velde
Boy With Tape On His Face
Brian Damage & Krysstal
At Chortle Fast Fringe 2010
More Bridget Christie videos
|At Chortle Fast Fringe 2010|
|As Samuel Pepys|
|On Derek Acorah|
|As the Great Plague|
Alternative Comedy Memorial Society
The Alternative Comedy Memorial Society is not just comedy night, it’s a state of mind.
In a London circuit full of necessary new material nights, it has become an institution in just 18 months, run on the philosophy is that it is better to aim high and fall short, than not to try at all. There is a catchphrase to sum it up: ‘A failure!’ genial hosts Thom Tuck and John-Luke Roberts triumphantly cry after each act. ‘A noble failure!’ the crowd dutifully reply.
Experimentation is all. Tonight we witnessed a woman with a pumpkin on her head bashing herself with a hammer; the spirit of Saddam Hussein reincarnated in the body of a cat; four physical wrecks running lengths of the stage while knocking back vodka, lager and milk; a reading from an earnest academic paper about the effects of alien species on British freshwater life; and a trombone-playing troubadour in sparkly beard and flamboyant hat reading the speeches of Winston Churchill before the audience reenacted the Battle Of Britain with hundreds of cheap toy aeroplanes.
You will not witness the likes of this anywhere else, or, indeed, here again. The ethos is of unusual but semi-established performers trying things they could never do elsewhere – the very antithesis of the anodyne end of TV stand-up or the clubs which try to recreate that.
Tuck and Roberts – ‘not a conventional double act’, they are keen to remind us – are crucial in this; hosting without an apparent plan, celebrating in the awkwardness that sometimes creates, yet being witty enough to ensure their nonsense steers clear of the self-indulgent. In their compering duties tonight, they are aided with convoluted musical puns, courtesy of The Baptists, two-thirds of the comedy band whose leader, Johnny, was signed off on medical grounds.
Every institution needs its rules, and those at ACMS further underline the culture of creative endeavour. The audience may heckle, but only from a proscribed list. ‘We appreciate what you are trying to do!’ is allowed. As is ‘Tell us a joke! The ones you have been telling so far have been brilliant.’ Anything shouted out that’s not authorised – however funny – is slapped down with a brutally authoritarian: ‘Non-permitted heckle!’
Yet for all the caveats that much of the night ‘might be a bit shit’; it’s actually wonderfully entertaining overall. Certainly the community of like-minded souls helps, but jokes are funny, zany ideas are delivered with slapstick silliness, and fertile imaginations are allowed to run free. Plus, it’s a packed bill, so any failures – noble as they may be – are quickly scooted over.
The one thing that doesn’t fit in is the tried-and-tested. The second half here contained two broadly conventional stand-ups: Asher Treleaven – who complained his physical, nerdy material didn’t work in his native Australia – and slow-speaking circuit veteran Silky, with some quiet nonsense involving his guitar stand and a whimsical song. Nothing wrong with either (except, perhaps, for the old line ‘a groan is as good as a laugh – except in the bedroom’) but all a bit orthodox for this night.
Opening act Joanna Neary had mocked the rituals of stand-up, pretending that on her ‘course’ they had told her to gallop around the stage like Russell Kane or Michael McIntyre – regardless of her physical condition. This breathless performance perhaps fell into the ‘noble failure’ category, but symptomatic of this gig that she could do a gag about a theramin, in the assumption enough of the audience would know what that was.
Sara Pascoe did the ridiculous Saddam Hussein cat business, with mixed results, followed by Bridget Christie, for whom this night seems custom-designed, as she complains her mix of surrealism and gender politics makes her unbookable elsewhere. By her own account she did something ridiculous involving rice last month, but this time more straightforward, if decidedly quirky, stand-up.
Next Nadia Kamil, dressed as if she’d fallen out of the pages of Where’s Wally?, dared the audience to take her seriously as she read from the dry academic paper she’d brought along. The command to suppress laughter was, of course, enough to encourage titters around the room which she variously admonished or tacitly encouraged. It’s a technique Frankie Howerd mastered... but never quite like this. This section was closed by Ben Target and Matthew Highton leading the ‘bleep test’ athletic challenge that was so messy it needed an interval to clear up.
Afterwards, beautifully bonkers Tony Law revealed, in a chat show segment, how he helped found the city of Rome but failed to kill Hitler, leading into the more conventional stand-ups perviously mentioned.
William Andrews followed with his own take on the ‘comedy in the dark’ idea – and took the cliche that you could get laughs from reading the phone book, by doing the same with an anodyne Myleene Klass interview from a celebrity magazine.
Tom Bell also found inspiration from the newsstands, mercilessly – and hilariously – mocking Love It! before adding a Halloween twist to their HORRORscopes. Lou Sanders continued the October 31 theme, but from the pumpkin’s point of view, in a silly segment that was brief, but perfect length.
Finally, the resplendently dressed Matthew Kelly with gloriously odd non-sequiturs and convoluted bits of stage business, culminating in scores of planes flying between stage and audience in a memorably playful climax that sums up all that is joyous about ACMS.
It's more than a noble failure, it's a gorgeously flawed triumph.
|Date of live review: Wednesday 31st Oct, '12|
Review by Steve Bennett
Thursday 9th Aug, '12- Assembly Rooms Fringe
Thursday 8th Mar, '12-
Wednesday 25th Jan, '12- Soho Theatre
Thursday 25th Aug, '11-
Monday 16th Aug, '10-
Bridget Christie: My Daily Mail Hell - Fringe 2009
Sunday 23rd Aug, '09-
Show - Misc live shows - Friday 4th Jul, '08-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2008 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2007 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2005 - Sunday 0th Aug, '05-
Monday 19th Jul, '04-
Show - Misc live shows -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2006 -
Show - Misc live shows -
'My Daily Mail Hell' was my first exposure to Bridget Christie and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. The gig took place in a small studio at the Soho Theatre to an audience of two or three dozen people, so it was all a bit awkward at first but she won everybody over. The material was great and the set was cohesive - running at an hour I could happily have sat through another. nMy criticism would be that at times it felt a bit like a Russell Brand impersonation. That said, maybe Russell nicked it from Bridget - as I say, I hadn't seen her before.
Saw her at Stewart Lee's Night of Big Bangers at the BAC. She absolutely died, putting in probably the worst performance I've seen from a comedian. Terrible material, with personal anecdotes with no punchlines, and no actually interesting events, along with a really irritating cutesy delivery, which she self-consciously referred to when it became obvious she was dying. I felt, honestly, like she had no understanding of what a comedian is supposed to do. How she managed to win any award, never mind funniest women at the fringe when Josie Long and Sarah Millican were both there, is beyond me.
Saw Bridget on Robin Ince's Book Club at Latitude. She only had a 10 minute slot, which was a bit hurried and disorganised, but it was very amusing nonetheless. Appreciated her 'list' song about long-haired dogs (but there is room for improvement...may I humbly suggest the incorporation of the 'Bouvier Des Flandres' or 'Kooikerhondje' breeds?).
Saw her at Up the Creek tonight. She came on as "Dan Brown, the writer of the DaVinci Code." She tanked. She was supposed to come on again as Charles II, but decided not to. Based on the three or four minutes she did, I suspect character comedy may not be her thing. I'm sure she has talent, unfortunately it didn't shine through tonight.
Excellent. Playful, whimsical and you get the sense that she's invested a lot of herself in the act. Highly recommended.
Naturally funny, original and gorgeous. What more do the people want?
Brilliant. A very talented young woman. Reminds me of a young Jim Bowen.. not really.
Did the first slot at the Leicster Mercury Comedian Of The Year Award. Always a bad slot being first on, but did very very well, and set the benchmark for everyone else to follow,. Go and see her.
|'A brilliant clown capable of incredible subtlety'
Bridget Christie chooses her comedy favourites
07/03/2013 Permanent link
Lower Ground Floor
79 Noel Road
contact by email
Office: 020 7704 6555
Mobile: 07545 092410
Christie & Doyle's Axis Of Evil
Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Bridget Christie: The Cheese Roll
Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Bridget Christie: The Court Of King Charles II
Edinburgh Fringe 2008
Bridget Christie: The Court Of King Charles II The Second
Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Bridget Christie: My Daily Mail Hell
Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Bridget Christie: A Ant
Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Bridget Christie: Housewife Surrealist
Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Bridget Christie: War Donkey
Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Bridget Christie: A Bic for Her
Misc live shows
Funny Women Final 2004
Laughter In Odd Places