Centrepoint Laughing Point
In aid of Centrepoint, a charity for young homeless people, a cluster of fine comic talent gathers for one night only in London’s Palace Theatre. Compère Joe Lycett, whose last Edinburgh show had by far the best title (If Joe Lycett then You Should’ve Put a Ring On It) rouses the audience into an enthusiastic frenzy, then introduces “not 11, not 12 but ten acts”.
First up is Kerry Godliman lamenting a woman’s labour intensive lot to look beautiful. Her funny voices liven up stories about vajazzles and eye cream. Mark Watson fills the stage with his awkward, nervous energy; there are a few deadpan minutes from Mike Wozniak. James Acaster’s whimsical flights of fancy about being an undercover cop posing as a stand-up comedian are gentle, silly fun.
Nick Helm and Lou Sanders bring some variety to the otherwise strictly observational comedy on offer. Helm does his beardy, shouty thing for ten minutes then jumps off the stage and, unable to get back on, someone in the front row kindly thrusts his hand up Helm’s backside to give him a boost. Sanders gives a brilliant and insane set singing a duet with a felt vagina on a stick and asking an audience member to pour sugar over her head. Some punters are in convulsions, others stony-faced. Jon Culshaw slips immediately into a Terry Wogan impression, and it does not get much more topical from there: Tony Blair, George Bush, Les Dawson. The impersonations are perfect and it is a skill to be admired, but Culshaw provides little in terms of material.
The team from Channel 4’s The Last Leg are eagerly anticipated. First-timer Alex Brooker’s frank humour, tempting the audience to laugh at jokes about disabled people, is warmly received even if the set is rough around the edges. Josh Widdicombe’s set exemplifies the best of British: the weather, Heathrow, WHSmith. The headliner, Adam Hills, is by far the most confident and has such a likeable, easy-going onstage presence that it is impossible not to warm to him. He is the perfect down-the-pub dad, with stories about the Ashes and the Paralympics. After nine comedians and two hours he manages to revive the tired audience with charm and skill.
Hills is the highlight of an evening of great comedy for an important cause, masterfully held together by Joe Lycett.
Centrepoint Laughing Point was a one-off event at the Palace Theatre. For further information and future events visit Centrepoint’s website here.