Friday night was the opening night gala of the Ealing Comedy Festival with Craig Hill, Boy with Tape on his Face, Kerry Godliman, David Baddiel and Arthur Smith as the MC.
First up was Craig Hill who came on stage wearing a leather kilt and began dancing to Madonna’s Hung Up very actively for almost the entirety of the song. He made a lot of jokes around the fact he is gay and whilst he was quite funny, the crowd I was in made it a little awkward to enjoy the set.
I’ve been aware of the Boy with Tape On His Face for quite a few years but I’ve never actually got around to seeing him live. He was amazing. What he managed to achieve without saying a word, just using his body language to sell the act along with some audience participation was amazing. He relies on the people he picks out from the audience to go along with what he is planning on doing without giving them instruction and it makes for a very interesting act. I’m sure there are times when people refuse or don’t go along with it, but at Ealing everyone went with it and the act was amazing. Go and see him if you haven’t already, you won’t be disappointed.
I’ve seen Kerry Godliman on the TV quite a bit, most recently in Derek, Ricky Gervais’ wonderful show about life in a nursing home. She is always good in whatever I’ve seen her in. Her act consisted mostly of observations about being a Mum and I could relate to most of it which made it even funnier. Who hasn’t looked at the settings on their washing machine and thought when am I ever going to use that?! I really enjoyed her set.
The main act of the evening was David Baddiel who came on to tell amusing stories about his life in show business. It was interesting and funny but not belly ache laughs. Unfortunately, being the last act the alcohol had been well and truly flowing by that point and a few people began to see the act as boring, heckling and ruining the atmosphere some what for the rest of us. David handled the situation well and we all ignored the idiots the best we could.
I enjoyed the set and found it interesting but having been to quite a few of these festival shows it wasn’t the usual sort of act we are used to and I think that was maybe what caused the disruption. People were expecting just straight jokes and belly laughs rather than amusing anecdotes. Personally I enjoyed it and found it interesting.
Arthur Smith was the compare for the night. He was very good. He told a mixture of jokes, anecdotes and poems. He even got a naked woman to walk across the back of the stage to the delight of the men in the audience. At the end he doubled it by having two naked women walk past. I wasn’t offended by it but with the crowd I was sitting with it was a little awkward, I got the impression they didn’t know how to react and maybe had to hide their true reactions 😉
All in all it was a good night. If you have never been to the festival then I would recommend it, I think this was my 6th year and I’ve never been disappointed with a line up. Walpole Park is a really nice place to walk round too.