Last night Robin Ince hosted the School For Gifted Children at the Bloomsbury Theatre at the UCL in London. It was a variety show & tell, with more fantastic artists than you could possible shake a stick at.
Early on in the bill was a character comedian named Jo Neary. Even though she was shaking and more nervous than a banker taking their bonus (chronically so in such a way that you couldn’t help but giggle), the act started with an annoucement that Neary was going to give a talk about sex toys as her character worked in a sex shop and was well versed on the variety available. When the nervousness of her character was combined with such a confident talk about sex toys, this was just even more tear jerking. Neary also did a character about a lady that worked in a shop in some respectable organisation – but that wasn’t so funny. It was based on a real person which she had met, but the personality characteristics of this shop lady that Jo thought were funny and decided to share with us weren’t actually that funny. Overall rating: 6/10
Then there was the magnificantly prolific Kevin Eldon. Oh Boy. He did a set of three songs, one of which was called the CD song. I like it when the CD pauses and skips. Kevin Eldon can do an impression of a CD. That’s how ruddy talented he is. Who else can do an impression of a CD? Kevin Eldon is a ruddy genius! Overall rating: 11/10
Next, there was a rant by A Ant played by Bridget Christie. She spent the first half of her act accusing the stage band (Steve Pretty & the Origin of Pieces) of ant racism because they played some Ant Music by Adam & the Ants. That wasn’t so funny, but then Cristie got out a little red book (like my dad used to have in the 80’s – cool) which contained lots of one line jokes about ants which the audience then automatically shouted out the answers. This, for some reason I can’t put my finger on was very funny. Christie was giving us a test through reading out her jokes and the audience answering them. It was like a School For Gifted Children. Overall rating: 8/10
Also on the bill was Stewart Lee. I also happen to think this man is a genius – but his performance last night was lacklustre. He did his beautiful pacing of his material perfectly by repeatedly using the same phrase throughout a piece, it anchors the listener and keeps their attention. Bit like giving a dummy to a baby. Simple but very effective trick and he cleverley said that he hated bloody emmigrants. Yes, emmigrants – people who leave the country. Not immigrants – people who are entering the country. This got a huge laugh from the audience in a Jimmy Carr kind of way. Carr makes an audience laugh, then the audience realises that it’s wrong to laugh at that topic, so the laugh is followed by a collective gasp. Last night Lee did the thing that Carr does – he gets people to laugh at things that are otherwise avoided because they are so arkward. Overall rating: 5.9/10
Along came Jim Bob. He sang some songs. I kinda lost attention – well they were ok. Nice music, the kind you might play in your kitchen at home if you were doing the washing up. Pleasant but nothing that challenging. Overall rating: 5/10
This was a man in the band who played what Ince called a Tuba, but aparrently it isn’t? He had a few solos and he danced when he played it. Overall rating: 8/10
Kevin eldon came back on stage to do a sketch as a man from the north. It was ok, but not as good as his songs. Overall rating: 8/10
Eldon also did a character which read out some poetry. He didn’t look as evil as he does in the photo above. That’s just a wierd blur from moving the camera while taking the photo – isn’t it? Overall rating: 11.5/10
Next, there was Robyn Hitchcock – a singer / songwriter. I was sitting stage right so could see a little into the wings. As soon as this guy got on stage, Stewart Lee came along and lay down the floor in the wings and drank a bottle of beer. His line of sight of Hitchcock made it look like he was looking at me. It was totally distracting. After Hitchcock had finally got his arrangement of microphones just right (very funny), he got all the performers back on stage to sing a song with him. There was a lot of Ooohing and Aaaarrrrrinnnng in the song. It was bloody funny. When Hitchcock put a bit of spotlight on the band, the line of performers had to move to the sides of the stage. It was in this moving about that Stewart Lee brushed his hand across his wife – Bridget Christies’ bottom. Aahhhh Overall rating for Hitchcock: 9/10
– Kevin Eldon snatches a look at the mighty Alan Moore. What is Moore doing with his face that’s making Eldon look like that? Lee pretends to be a steam engine.
– Hitchcock was funny & good enough to make the other comedians laugh.
Lo and behold the mighty Alan Moore!! He was last on the bill, and he kinda didn’t really get enough time to settle into his routine even though Robin Ince was very good with the timings of the performers. Someone would stand in the wings (I couldn’t see who) and signal to the performers when their time was up. Moore said himself that he was surprised that he was last on the bill (whatever that meant?). He talked about how everything is religous and about how crap religion is. So does that mean he just talked about how everything is crap? That’s a bit dull really isn’t it? Overall rating: 7.5/10
And finally, here is the compere and organiser of the event – Robin Ince. I hadn’t heard of him before seeing this gig mentioned on Twitter, but he’s actually quite good. I love the way that he’s half on stage cause he likes talking about things – and the stage is one of the places where he can do that without being put in an asylum. He really gets into the things that he is talking about and he start’s to talk faster and faster – he clutches his head and looks down to the stage. Ince seems like a very pleasant man. This event was extremely entertaining. He said he didn’t want to get all the performers back on stage for a round of applause as one of them might get a quiter round of applause than another one. Ince didn’t want any one of them to think that they didn’t do as well as any other the others. That is actually a really sweet thing to do. Overall rating for Ince: 9.5/10
They are regular events and the next one is on the 7th May I’d throughly recommend that everyone books their tickets up now, as the event that I went to last night was a sold out event – and surely future ones will be as well.