Centrepoint Laughing Point at the Palace TheatreCultureTheatre
Laughing Point is a biannual comedy fundraiser organised by CentrePoint, a charity looking to help homeless teens get a better start in life. On the bill were several young and upcoming comedians, as well as a few veterans, with Daniel Kitson acting as compere.
First up was Aisling Bea, an Irish comedian and actor with an honest and refreshingly bleak account of the wrong turns her life had taken since finishing drama school. Next up was madcap Canadian Tony Law who brought a mix of pithy one-liners and delightfully stupid prop sketches to the table. He was followed by Joe Lycett, who cemented his one-to-watch status with a selection of deftly told anecdotes from his life.
In the second half we were treated to another Canadian, Katherine Ryan, who brought an outsider’s perspective on life in the UK, with some virtuosically foul-mouthed routines on the royal family, Justin Bieber and childbirth. Josh Widdicombe brought his low-key charm to the proceedings next. As a fast rising star, there might have been heavy expectations on his shoulders but he pulled it off like an old pro, with some gentle gags about his childhood in Devon, in particular his school’s overreliance on the humble trundlewheel as a valuable scientific teaching tool.
Rounding off the evening was the incomparable Stewart Lee, who spent most of his allotted 20 minutes talking about urine, thanks to the noble mission statement: “You’d think a routine entirely based on urine would be either fantastic or abysmal. Well I’m hoping to prove that it could in fact be neither of those.”
As Kitson said after Lee’s set: “he’s a risk to end with!” His sour attitude and enervated performance style were hardly in keeping with the high-energy comics that preceded him, but really, there’s no way a comedian of Lee’s stature could have been anything but top of the bill. You know what you’re getting – some will love it, some will hate it. His take on the death of Robin Williams was tragically hilarious, as he turned on the audience, blaming our fickle and fleeting adulation for the mental instability of so many comics.
The real standout performer of the evening, though, was compere Daniel Kitson, who threatened to steal the show with his rambling, borderline aggressive banter with the audience. His constant reassurances that “don’t worry, the real comedians will be on soon” were misplaced – his inserts were the funniest parts of the whole evening – particularly his scorn for pretentious baristas – “do you want milk, with that, or are you going to be a good boy?”
With a mixture of styles to suit every taste, all in aid of a good cause, this was a raucous, chaotic and charming show to chase off those rainy Monday blues.
Photos: Harriet Armstrong
Laughing Point was a one-off event at the Palace Theatre, for further information about Centrepoint and future events visit here.
To buy tickets for the next event on 23rd February 2015 visit here.