I tried doing a top 10 list of shows I saw in 2015, but really couldn’t. Daniel Kitson taking up 4 slots alone kind of limits things. Accordingly, in no particular order, this is a sort of top 15 of comedy shows/performances that I particularly enjoyed in 2015 and who I am going to attempt to see again in 2016.
Beard: The Grin of Love
Of everything I have seen in 2015 this was definitely the show that struck the biggest chord with me and the one I still think about regularly. Dark and delightfully twisted, yet wonderfully playful and funny, the brilliant Matilda Wnek and Rosa Robson won me over completely. A real revelation of a show. I particularly enjoyed the dictated letter bit which I think is just a wonderful idea for a sketch.
Tash & Ellie are A Mother and Baby
I saw this show twice at the Invisible Dot, the first was a WIP, and the second a “Christmas Show” – it was excellent both times. I don’t know how far along it was when I first saw it before Edinburgh, but even without having learned the whole thing it seemed the writing and performing from both Ellie White and Natasia Demetriou was really polished. The second time had definitely evolved (which is a great reason to see shows more than once), and even starting massively late and experiencing tech issues was still hilarious. Tash and Ellie work brilliantly together and whilst comparisons like this are always unfair, they really remind me of Vic & Bob in how well they compliment each other.
Stewart Lee: A Room with a Stew
I love Stewart Lee, I’ve seen him 30 odd times so there’s no way I can’t include him. I love seeing how his material changes as he builds towards recording.
Daniel Kitson: Tree, Polyphony, Stories for a Starlit Sky, A Show for Christmas
Daniel Kitson could say he was going to read from the phone book for an hour and I would still repeatedly book to go see him. Aside from various shows where he was MC which are as good as anything else in their own right, and even though they weren’t new shows, the sheer quality of any of these shows means he has to be on any list.
James Acaster: Represent
As a full rounded show, this is probably the best thing I saw this year. Aside from being really funny, what I really appreciated is the quality of the writing and how well it worked as a whole. It’s one thing to have an hour of funny material, but when put together this well it’s really a joy to watch.
Reeves & Mortimer: WIP
This will hopefully also be on the list for 2016, but the three work in progress shows at the Leicester Square Theatre were absolutely brilliant in their own right.
Tony Law: Enter the Tone Zone
Frankly this would get on my list solely on the basis of the dance routine with the beach ball. Even after seeing it 3 times it still had me crying with laughter. That the rest of the show was great is a bonus.
Tim Key: Father Slutmas
Father Slutmas was the titled “show” that I saw, but I’m also factoring in two WIP shows. I just love what Tim Key does. His poems are funny, but it’s really the stuff around them that raises it to another level. Works perfectly for 5 minutes or an hour. Santa calmly hunting Elves for sport is genius.
Harry Hill: WIP
Another work in progress. I saw it both nights it was on at the invisible dot and was so glad I did. The second night with the revelation that a guy had been hiding in the corner for over an hour particularly amused me. The Laugh-o-meter needs work.
I really struggled to pick between these to get a top ten, so didn’t, and since this is ultimately meaningless there was no point in trying to do so.
- Rob Delaney: Meat This might squeeze into a top 10, but maybe that’s by way of Bridget Christie having been the support on the night I saw it so extra great.
- Sara Pascoe Vs History saw this at the udderbelly, which is not a great venue, even so I loved this because Sara is great
- Joseph Morpurgo: Soothing Sounds for Baby A real show, and the AA Milne bit was particularly great.
- Bridget Christie: A Book for Her
- Josie Long: Cara Josephine
- David O’Doherty has checked everything