A list of live stuff I saw in 2016 and loved. Very loosely in no particular order.
I saw 64 things live this year, once you factor in seeing the same thing multiple times and people performing as part of a mixed bill it would almost be more concise to list what didn’t make it onto my favourites list and even then most of them were great, but using rather broad groupings I’ve cobbled together 16 items and it’s 2016.
This isn’t any sort of review, there’s no real analysis of the material. It’s just a list.
16) Cardinal Burns Presents…
British Comedy Award-winning sketch heroes Seb Cardinal and Dustin Demri-Burns host an impulsive night every month at MOTH Club in Hackney − and anything goes!
Cardinal Burns presents…, produced by Knock2bag, introduces new characters and new material, with a few little treats thrown in.
There’s resident acts Jamie Demetriou, Natasia Demetriou and Ellie White. Plus special guests. And an aftershow until midnight.
My main regret is that for whatever reason I don’t get around to going to these until so late in the year. Primarily it’s a way for me to see Tash & Ellie (albeit they’ve only been on together once), but Cardinal Burns, Jamie Demetriou and the rest of the acts have also been brilliant.
15) Athletico Mince
London Podcast Festival: Live Mince
22nd September @ King’s Place
The podcast is brilliant, and this was them doing the podcast.
14) Rory Scovel
1st August @ The Invisible Dot
I’d only heard Rory Scovel on an episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! and this was very much a case of booking based on reputation as the chance was there, and I’m so glad I did. Sadly, as it turns out, this was the last time I was at The Invisible Dot before they closed.
13 & 12) Lazy Susan and Birthday Girls
“Crazy Sexy Fool” and “Shit Hot Party Legends”: Works in Progress
26th July @ Battersea Arts Centre
Also, Lazy Susan 1st December @ Battersea Arts Centre
This was the perfect storm, I’d wanted to see both of these two groups but the dates had never quite fit in for when I was free, so a low cost work in progress double bill was perfect.
11) Bridget Christie
Bridget Christie: Stand up for her (dvd warm up)
15th May @ Museum of Comedy
Bridget Christie: Mortal (WIP)
15th June @ Invisible Dot
Bridget Christie (WIP)
2nd August @ Museum of Comedy
Bridget Christie: Because You Demanded It
6th December @ Leicester Square Theatre
As a result of seeing Bridget a number of times throughout the year I got a real mix of material and to was able to see it at varying stages of development which for me is as interesting as the results are enjoyable. The WIP at The Invisible Dot was less of a show than an exasperated rant – which by degrees I kind of liked most.
10) John Kearns
John Kearns: Work In Progress
10th February @ Pleasance Theatre
John Kearns Christmas
7th December @ Battersea Arts Centre
It’s hard to explain any comedy to people and John Kearns is probably harder than most, he’s right up my alley though. Some people don’t seem to get it, which probably makes it even funnier for me.
9) Fight in the Dog
Twelfth Night with Comedians
Ricky Whittington and His Cat
23rd December @ New Diorama
At the time of writing this I’ve not seen Ricky Whittington, but this entry is less about the material and more about the people. My experience of Fight in the Dog so far has been of seeing talented people I enjoy performing together. I’m a fan of people working together across multiple shows, so I’ve loved this.
8) James Acaster
Reset (id:475.04 WIP and full show)
Also, Live At The Chapel
I essentially said the same thing last year, but the great thing about James Acaster is that as well as his shows being hilarious, they’re also really well written. I don’t know the process and my sampling is limited, but even at the earlier stages of seeing some of the material it seemed virtually fully formed which is really impressive.
7) Trump vs Bernie
Debate Tour 2016
8th July @ Leicester Square Theatre
It’s Democratic Socialist versus Republican Billionaire, fighting over the issues ahead of the next US presidential election. Bernie Sanders (James Adomian) and Donald Trump (Anthony Atamanuik) will hold a live, unsanctioned bipartisan exhibition debate at London Leicester Square Theatre on July 8!!
Two performers at the top of their game, plus Mark Hamill so frankly they could have just said nothing and it would have been worth going to.
6) Tony Law
Tony Law: Frillemorphesis
5th February @ Leicester Square Theatre
The brand new stand-up art show from the multi award-winning Tony Law. Experience his frillemorphesis as he explodes into the future absurdly.
Tony Law: A Law undo His-elf what welcome (WIP and full show)
Law welcome to journey with me, earth bones funny at personal best. Jump towards.
Also, Cardinal Burns Presents…
I’m a fully paid up Tony Law union member. Like John Kearns (but totally different) Tony is someone who a lot of people won’t get but his stuff strikes a chord with me so any show I can go to will be automatically booked. As a bonus the pre-show music was from Smokey & The Bandit.
5) Daniel Kitson
Daniel Kitson Blathers on for a while, sometimes reading things out and possibly, although not certainly, having an interval.
A series of weekly work in progress shows in which Daniel (me) will explore ideas for either/both stand up comedy or more theatrical, storytelling type stuff. The idea is that its basically a weekly space where Daniel (me) can try things out at whatever stage in their development those things may be.
The duration is yet to be determined and is largely irrelevant as there will be very little structure, you’ll be able to leave whenever you want and the best bit is just as likely to be five minutes in as it is the final moments of the “show”.
I booked all 8 nights of this over the 9 weeks and there’s not much to say other than that it was Kitson talking for a couple of hours and it was bloody glorious.
Daniel Kitson: It’s Always Right Now Until It’s Later (Screening)
3rd April @ Prince Charles Cinema
In 2010, or maybe 2011, it’s hard to be certain about these things, I wrote and performed a show called It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later. I originally performed it in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at the Traverse Theatre every morning at 10.30 before restaging it at St Anns Warehouse in New York, The National Theatre in London and The Royal Exchange in Manchester.
This film was made on one single night towards the end of the Manchester run and is the entire show, in real time. We showed it at the latitude festival a couple of years ago, but besides that it’s just been sitting on various hard drives whilst I decide what to do with it.
This feels like a slight shame, because I do think it’s pretty good and over Christmas I had the idea of putting together a limited tour of interesting, lovely or odd cinemas, where I would introduce a screening of the film.
So this is that tour.
The film is 95 minutes – so including the introduction and any bits of faff, you’re probably best off allowing 2 hours in total.
Daniel Kitson: Work In Progress (Mouse x2)
Currently thirty eight years old and still not entirely bald, Daniel Kitson returns to Battersea Arts Centre with a work in progress towards a new theatre show about friendship and loneliness, doubt and hope, a mouse, a phone call and the unfathomable repercussions of everything we ever do.
I’ve seen Daniel Kitson a lot (33 times as of writing this), I would pay to see him reading the phone book. I could have just listed the times I’ve seen him and be done with the list really.
No finished shows this year (other than the screening of an older show), but a number of charity things which are arguably better to watch than a written show and bring the joy of seeing him do a raffle.
4) Reeves & Mortimer
Work In Progress
The Poignant Moments
Brilliant. Not a lot more to add really. The one thing it does highlight is that even the Apollo is too large to get the best from seeing people live as (by degrees) I enjoyed the Leicester Square show (and those from 2015) more.
3) Stewart Lee
Stewart Lee: A Room With A Stew
Stewart Lee: Content Provider
I’ve seen Stewart Lee 40 times. I’m a fan.
2) Comedy Bang! Bang!
2016 UK Tour
28th September @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Having listened to so many hundreds of hours of brilliance I’m not sure what they’d have needed to done for me to not enjoy this.
1) Kieran Hodgson
Trilogy (French Exchange, Lance, Maestro)
18th December @ Pleasance Theatre
Absolutely amazing, I’d never seen him before (outside of 12th Night) and I am so glad I got to see all three shows. There was a fully deserved standing ovation at the end. Booked Maestro for March.